Most people are aware that downtown Hopkinton suffered several big fires, and as a result lost two Town Halls in the process. But what you may not know is that the current building was almost lost to the auction block in early 1932.
The saga began with the construction of Center School and ended in a Framingham courtroom. According to the news reports of the day, a part used in the ventilation system of the new school was ordered by the plumbing contractor Viner of Worcester from B.F. Sturtevant Company of Hyde Park. The part was installed but soon after Viner went out of business. Sturtevant Company demanded payment directly from the town for the total of $450.
As these things go there appears to have been some confusion over who was responsible for paying the debt. Town Treasurer Daniel Day was advised by Town Counsel Eliza W. M. Bridges not to pay.
Sturtevant won a court judgement in its favor on December 4, 1931 and the town appealed. Attorney Edward Carr (a Hopkinton resident) representing Sturtevant quickly returned to court. On December 22, 1931 a Framingham Deputy Sheriff arrived at town hall and informed Treasurer Day that he had “seized and taken” the building. Hopkinton’s town hall would be auctioned off on January 30th, 1932.
The Boston Globe reported that a “red flag” would be flying over town hall on that day. “No, the community isn’t going Communistic,” the paper assured readers, “building to be sold at auction to pay debt.”
Treasurer Day immediately posted bond in the amount of $450. Attorney Bridges made the case that the town was not given enough time to investigate and respond to the original judgement, and on December 31, 1931, a judge agreed.
After several more weeks of legal wrangling, newspapers reported that our town hall was no longer in peril of being sold. No word on if (or when) the bill was paid, however.