For a great number of years one of the most imposing structures in North Lewisburg was the old Town Hall. This three-story edifice was constructed in 1870, and stood for a hundred years on the south side of Maple Street in the "downtown" area. This brick-and-mortar structure was a hub of activity for the community. On the street level could be found retail shops and a tavern. On the same level, but outside the normal view of the townsfolk was the jail, a sturdy, interior, boxlike area for securing the town's ne'er do wells.
The second floor area consisted of some small meeting type rooms, with a large kitchen, and a much-larger assembly hall. This area was used by various organizations for a great variety of gatherings. In the years following the Civil War, the veterans of that conflict - now members of the fraternal organization called the Grand Army of the Republic - held regularly scheduled meetings here. Likewise, there were other civic affairs which took place in the hall - dinners, ice cream socials, Halloween carnivals, dances, and various holiday parties. As time passed, the introduction of silent movies and eventually "talkies" took place in this building as the equipment was set up to project the shadowy images on one wall, or a special screen which had been installed for just that purpose. Following World War I - "the war to end all wars" - the newly formed American Legion and its auxiliary held meetings and other events in the building. There were a great many "fish fry" dinners which were held here over the years as fund raisers for the local American Legion Post (which was originally named after Chester F. McCrery - 1897 to 1918 - the town's first soldier to be killed in action in France during World War I). Local fishermen would often travel the distance to Lake Erie to catch the fish - primarily perch - which were then cleaned, battered and deep fried and served as steaming mounds on plates or sandwiches. Often, these special dinners were part of poker nights, where tables and chairs were set up to accommodate card players. Beer was served, fish was consumed, and money changed hands as the evenings wore on.
One small office area of this floor was used by the American Legion for the maintenance of their membership records as well as minutes of their meetings and other activities. There was also an armory of sorts, where racks of Springfield M1903 rifles were secured away until they were used for military parades or firing squads at military funerals. These sturdy, dependable .30-.06 caliber rifles were first introduced into the U.S. military in 1905, and were widely used during World War I. They were supposed to be phased out of service by 1937, but were still in service when the United States entered World War II. As a matter of fact, the trusty rifles remained in service through the Korean War, and as a sniper rifle during the early part of the Viet Nam war. Several of the old rifles were consigned to the American Legion post for ceremonial purposes. Today, they are housed in the new Municipal Building.
In the mid-1960s part of the second floor was also used by the young men of the local Explorer Post - an organization for older boys who were enrolled in the Boy Scouts of America. They conducted their weekly meetings there, to include planning and preparation for their periodic excursions into the wild.
The third floor of the building was used by fraternal organizations made up of members of the community. The Masonic order and Eastern Star order held regular meetings in this area until they acquired the old Red and White grocery store on Sycamore Street which had been owned and operated by Burleigh Woodruff. They remodeled this building, to include the brick enclosure of the old store front in the 1960s. In addition to the regular meetings held in this remodeled facility, there were occasionally birthday, wedding, and anniversary receptions held on the ground floor level.
Goldie Millice operated a retail store on the ground floor of the old Town Hall. Townspeople could also pay their utility bills at her shop, and catch up on the local news. Goldie was the town's correspondent to the Urbana Citizen for nearly a half-century.
Spike Tanner operated a barber shop for a number of years which was first located in this ground floor area of the Town Hall. Later, he purchased a small masonry building at the end of the retail block and relocated his barber shop there. Prior to this, it had been the site of a television and electronics shop owned and operated by Richard and Leatrice Russell.
Probably the most popular of the facilities to be located on the ground floor of the Town Hall was the tavern which was owned and operated in later years by Junior James. He had a faithful clientele who frequented the tavern on a regular basis. He operated a small kitchen where sandwiches and fries were prepared to supplement the patrons' favorite brews. There was a juke box in the 1950s and 1960s which belted out the likes of Hank Williams and other country music artists. There was an electronic bowling game which saw hard use on Friday and Saturday evenings.
For a number of years, the southwest corner of the ground floor also doubled as the town's fire department. An interesting array of horse-pulled and combustion engine vehicles were used by the volunteer firemen to extinguish the blazes which periodically erupted in town. Later, when the building which housed the town's movie theater was converted for the fire department, the equipment was merely moved across the street.
The usefulness of the old Town Hall faded as time passed. It was determined that repairing and renovating the building would be too costly, so the decision was made to tear it down. Arrangements were made to do so, and shortly thereafter the old structure was gone. A vacant lot served as a reminder of its absence until a new furniture store was erected on that spot.
Old photos - and memories - are all that remain of the Town Hall.