Crowdsourcing Mornings Stuff

Crowdsourcing Mornings: Restore Talladega’s Old City Hall


This is Crowdsourcing Mornings! This post takes place every weekday morning and highlights one crowdsourcing project I liked from Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or other crowdsourcing websites.

The Old City Hall building along with the nearby Silk Stocking District and Talladega College Historic District are all located in the city of Talladega and are within a half mile of each other.   These combined historic areas all support the Talladega Court House Square Historic District making the entire area a must see historic destination.  The Old City Hall building is located within 1-2 blocks of these historic places. The building was initially planned by the Talladega City Council around 1874. The engineer and designer was City Engineer E. H. Walpole.

In 1890, the city contracted with B.H. Clardy & Sons to build a structure that “would be suitable for the conduct of the public’s business”. Official records show the building project was financed by “security bonds from New York City”. Old City Hall was the headquarters and focal point of Talladega city government for many years. It was later sold and the city moved its operation to a more modern building.   Old City Hall is a beautiful structure consisting of two levels with a grand front entrance staircase to the second floor. Completed and dedicated in 1892 as inscribed on the cornerstone, the architecture is Dutch Flemish.  The front facade has several bas relief scrolls, gargoyles, and other carvings. There is a stone carving on the upper front facade rumored to be the work of Italian sculptor Giuseppe Moretti who designed the Vulcan statute in Birmingham, AL.  Moretti is known to have carved many statues for use as grave markers in area cemeteries.

Additionally, local stories claim there is a picture or carving on the front of the building depicting slaves working in the cotton fields.  At some point protest from local citizens resulted in the picture being covered.  Looking up you can see a metal like cover on the building.  What’s under the cover is somewhat of a mystery.  The building has four different but joined roofs. The peak of which are the two towers with distinct architectural scrolls and carvings. Unfortunately in the 1970s, many buildings around the square, including Old City Hall, front facades were covered with glass, plastic or aluminum in an attempt at modernization.

Over the years, the Old City Hall building was used for different retail businesses on the ground level. The second floor, while not used in modern times, consists of several small rooms and a larger room reminiscent of a dance hall or ballroom.  These are the rooms that housed the city government.  It is a marvelous space, but like the rest of the building, is in need of repair. So now the task at hand is to restore this building, to shore up the structure, make it functional and restore its original appearance as much as possible. Starting with

Phase 1.  stabilize the brick facade and windows back and front

Phase 2.  roof stabilization/restoration

Phase 3.  Interior Beam/Wall Structural Repair/Restoration

Phase 4.  Interior structural/safety repair/stabilization

Phase 5.  Utilities

A portion of the retail space on the first floor will be set aside for community meetings exhibits, and gatherings by various public groups.   With your help and support, they will shore up the outer façades of the building – to include the windows, bricks, paint, and roofing.  The building will be rehabilitated to not only reflect its original Dutch-Flemish architecture of the 1800s,  but also to support revitalize of the Talladega Historic Court House Square District.

As of January 4th, this project has raised $0 of their $100,000 goal. This project has 16 days left to raise the $100,000 or it will not be funded! For a pledge of $100, you will get your name on a metal plate.  For a pledge of $1,500, you will get your name on a metal plaque.  To learn more and to pledge money, go to: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1171902927/old-city-hall-talladega-be-a-part-of-the-fix

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