Sunday, September 20, 2009

Middleborough Town Hall Cupola

Since its construction in 1872-73, Middleborough Town Hall has settled to such a degree that it has thrown off the pitch of its iconic "cupola". The situation was first noted within a decade of the building's construction when efforts were undertaken to rectify the situation:

A recent examination of the cupola of the Middleboro town house, discloses the fact that it has settled from two to three inches on one side. To prevent damage to the building, which not many years ago was erected at a cost of over $50,000, it will be necessary to get the cupola back to place. [Old Colony Memorial, January 24, 1885, p. 4]

Accordingly, in the winter of 1885, repairs were made within the building's superstructure in order to realign the cupola over the building:

Workmen have straightened up the cupola of the town house, in Middleboro, and secured it in position. It was concluded it was thrown out of plumb by the settling of the building and not from effects of heavy gales. [Old Colony Memorial, March 12, 1885, p. 4]

Despite the best efforts of workmen in 1885, and later, the cupola has been continued to shift torsionally, essentially twisting under its own weight. Though the shift has been relatively minimal, it nonetheless remains noticeable to this day, and the tower sits slightly askew relative to the main building below.

Middleborough Town Hall Cupola, photograph by Michael J. Maddigan, May 27, 2006

Old Colony Memorial, January 24, 1885, p. 4; March 12, 1885, p. 4.


Wally Glendye said...

You are a visionary!

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