Infrastructure & Environment

12 Big, Bold and Beautiful City Halls

Many cities are putting off much-needed but costly repairs to these historic structures.
November 8, 2013
 

Italian Renaissance. Art Deco. Classical. Beaux Art. Some of America's most striking (and ignored) urban architecture can be found in the city halls that anchor our metropolises, big and small. Like their state capitol counterparts, city halls make a strong visual statement about their jurisdiction. City halls ultimately project the importance of government to the citizens who live there, and reflect the aspirations of the city at the time they were built.

With more than 330 city halls listed in the National Register of Historic Places, America's municipal buildings are a treasure trove of architectural styles that blossomed in popularity during different centuries.

But the recession has taken its toll, and many cities have and continue to put off much-needed but costly repairs to these historic structures. "Lack of proper maintenance is a huge problem," Barbara Pahl, vice president for Western Field Operations at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, told Governing last year.

We've chosen 12 buildings that reflect the diverse culture of the country as well as the range of architectural styles, with some dating back more than two centuries as well as a couple that capture the contemporary, environmentally sustainable city hall styles that are popular today.

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