FEW towns the size of Sunbury in Delaware County -population 1360- have a town hall so prominent in community activities. The building itself, a three-story brick in the center of Public Square, would compare favorably with courthouses in some county seats. But what has gone on inside is even more interesting.

This center of Sunbury's community life was built in 1868 at a cost of $6500, raised by public subscription. Sparrow Lodge of Masons contributed $1500 toward the cost of adding the third floor, where lodge meetings were held until a year or so ago when a new temple was built. A school known as Sunbury Institute held classes in the hall in its early days. The second floor was a dance hall 60 years ago. Miss May Pinney taught dancing there and formed the May Dancing Club. Medicine shows, home talent plays, movies, roller skating and many other activities also took place on the second floor over the years.

The center section of the first floor housed the village fire department


for more than half a century. The old fire bell, used to arouse villagers, still is in the cupola. Back in the '20s a red light was placed on top the cupola to call the marshal when he was needed.

For many years prisoners were kept in two jail cells on the east side of the first floor. Hobos got many a night of free lodging there.

Justice of Peace and mayor's courts were active in the hall until JP rule ended and county municipal court took over most of the mayor's cases.

Today, village offices-mayor, council and board of public affairs-are on the west side of the first floor. The Farmers Bank took over this space for a time while a new building was being erected, but all is back to. normal again now.

Center and east part of the lower floor was taken over in 1954 by the Community Library, which since has grown to occupy the second floor as well. Sunbury Church of Christ now meets on the third floor.

The Columbus Dispatch - January 18, 1961

-by Bob Waldron

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(01/06/2013 )