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Bridgeport City Hall facts for kids

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Bridgeport City Hall
U.S. Historic district
Contributing property
BridgeportCityHall 2.jpg
The City Hall of Bridgeport, Connecticut in Winter 2012.
Bridgeport City Hall is located in Connecticut
Bridgeport City Hall
Location in Connecticut
Bridgeport City Hall is located in the United States
Bridgeport City Hall
Location in the United States
Location 202 State Street, Bridgeport, Connecticut
Area 1.8 acres (0.73 ha)
Built 1854
Architect A. J. Davis; J. W. Northrop
Architectural style Classical Revival, Greek Revival
Part of Bridgeport Downtown South Historic District (ID87001402)
NRHP reference No. 77001387
Quick facts for kids
Significant dates
Added to NRHP September 19, 1977
Designated CP September 3, 1987

The old Bridgeport City Hall is located in downtown Bridgeport, Connecticut. The building was built in 1854 as both the City Hall and the Fairfield County Courthouse and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 19, 1977. The old city hall was renamed McLevy Hall after Bridgeport mayor, Jasper McLevy in 1966. The current city hall on Lyon Terrace was built in 1916, however municipal offices continued to occupy McLevy Hall through the 1970s.

City Hall and Courthouse

Locating the Fairfield County Courthouse in Bridgeport was the result of much debate. Fairfield, Connecticut had been the site of the first county seat and courthouse in Fairfield County but by the mid-19th century, not only was the old courthouse insufficient for the county's needs, but the growth of Bridgeport and Norwalk made them more logical choices for county seat and a new courthouse. Bridgeport's offer to pay for the building of a courthouse and jail decided the matter. Bridgeport City Hall was constructed in 1853-54 between State and Bank Streets and cost $75,000. Alexander Jackson Davis designed it in the Greek Revival style to resemble a temple. The building, opened in 1855, had a large ground floor for use as City Hall, two floors for county government and court use and an auditorium, Washington Hall, for public gatherings. In 1886, when Bridgeport City Hall proved insufficient for both the growing needs of city and county, the Fairfield County Courthouse was built nearby.

Lincoln speech

Bridgeport City Hall postcard postmarked 1905
Western view of Bridgeport City Hall, before 1905

On Saturday, March 10, 1860, Abraham Lincoln spoke in Washington Hall at Bridgeport City Hall. Not only was the largest room in the city packed, but a crowd formed outside as well. Lincoln received a standing ovation before taking the 9:07 p.m. train that night back to Manhattan. A plaque marks the site where Lincoln spoke.

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