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The deadline date for submitting sealed proposals  to the clerk’s office for the construction of a new Town Hall was Tuesday , 12 PM, on 13 August 1889.  Bids were to include “excavation, limestone masonry, freestone work, tiling, brick work, plastering, carpenter work, millwork, stairs and hardware, wrought iron work, tin, galvanized iron and slate work, gas fitting, plumbing and drainage, painting and glazing. (1)” Construction began that same month and was completed by April, 1890. Located on the corner of Vine & Baker, it was a castle-like structure, reminiscent of those in Germany, fatherland to many early St. Bernard settlers.

City Hall, Vine and Baker.JPG.jpg

In addition to offices for the mayor and other village officials, it included a jail, accommodations for the police and quarters for the volunteer fire department. On the second floor was an expansive room used by the community for theater productions, dances, euchre parties, club groups, town meetings and 5¢ motion picture entertainment by means of the nickelodeon operated by Schrand and Vanden Eynden family members.  In 1909, an addition was made to the rear of the building for the paid fire department, which was established a year later.  It remained there until 1921 before relocating to Vine & Clay streets.

When the village of St. Bernard gained status as a city in 1912, the name was changed from Town Hall to City Hall.  At that time, Peter W. Young, who served as village mayor, became the first city mayor.  It was his great nephew, Mayor Charles (Red) Young, who, in 1974, announced a 7-0 vote for the suspension of demolition of the building.  There was discussion of putting the issue of its survival on the November ballot for public vote, but the wrecking ball was already in action by September. 

Dedication of the new City Hall, Vine & Washington, was held on 27 May 1974.  

Kay Heller Phillips

Sources:  (1) The Cincinnati Enquirer, 06 Apr 1974, p. 15;  The Cincinnati Enquirer, 25 May 1974, p. 14; Fifty Years of Progress 1878 St. Bernard, Ohio 1928; Photo:  Niesen, Marjorie N. Images of America St. Bernard. (Charleston, S. Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2011).

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