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The Great Hall
Our Town House was completed in 1860, and a month later a Town Meeting was held in the Great Hall on the second floor. The present grand staircase was not yet built and, of course, there was noelevator. There were three front doors and one led directly into a staircase. In the ensuing years the grand staircase, a balcony, a stage with curtains (1870), the beautiful light fixture and the wall stenciling were added. The stenciling above is from the wall of our Great Hall.
For about 100 years, the Hall was the home to much diverse activity. The Catholic Society were weekly renters from the beginning. In the days before television, radio or film, live entertainment was frequent and varied. Local societies and traveling groups were delighted to present their lectures and performances in the grand new facility. For nearly half a century, beginning in 1898, the West Brookfield Fire Department held its annual gala Firemen’s Ball there.In 1930, moving picture projection equipment was purchased by the town and movies were shown in our Great Hall each Saturday evening until the advent of local theaters put them out of business. Anna Carter and Anne Watkins of West Brookfield and Olive Fountain of Warren played piano accompaniment to the silent films of Charlie Chaplain, the Marx Brothers, and Mary Pickford, etc. Minstrel Shows were regular surefire crown pleasers. Chautauqua lectures, a Wild West Show, various musical performers, all availed themselves of our Great Hall’s fine acoustics and small town ambience. Whist parties, Halloween parties, the stuff of small town living all took place there, including the annual Town Meetings. Sports even found a home here, a basketball league played regularly for years.
The Hall sat unused for many years, but now through the efforts and cooperation of our town, it is available to us again.
White Christmas in West Brookfield is celebrated on the first Sunday in December and the White Christmas Chorus concert is held at the Great Hall on Sunday evening after the lighting of the Christmas Tree on the Common.
Copyright 2001 West Brookfield Historical Commission Last Modified: June 2, 2007