New Haven City Hall (1861)

April 28th, 2008 Posted in Gothic, New Haven, Public Buildings


Located on Church Street, across from the Green, New Haven’s City Hall was one of America’s earliest High Victorian Gothic buildings. It was designed by Henry Austin and was completed in 1861, with the addition of a similar brownstone county court house building on the north side in 1871, designed by David R. Brown. The City Hall‘s clock tower was later removed, creating a truncated appearance, but the building was restored in 1976 with a rebuilt clock tower. More recently, after many years of considering alternatives for a new government center, the rear and north portions of the original building were demolished and replaced with new additions, while the front portion was maintained.

  1. 2 Responses to “New Haven City Hall (1861)”

  2. By Nathaniel Foye on Nov 17, 2008

    As a freshman at Yale in 1975, I took Vincent Scully’s overview of art and architecture. He often used slides of local buildings to illustrate various architectural styles. One slide featured City Hall, at that time truncated without its distinctive clock tower. “This is New Haven City Hall,” intoned Professor Scully, “in its usual state of disarray.” Fortunately, Henry Austin’s front portion was thereafter restored and sympathetically enlarged, and is once again a High Victorian Gothic showstopper.

  3. By Steve McQuillin on Dec 1, 2017

    I recall a similar talk by Vincent Scully around that same time and then went over to look at the place. As I recall, it had a beautiful light court with balcony. There was quite a preservation battle at the time and this grand space plus, I believe, the later front portion were removed and a new building erected behind the front bay of the 1861 building. I didn’t find this a good solution at the time and felt the entire building and it’s addition were worthy of preservation. But, at the time, lots of fine old buildings in New Haven were being torn down.

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