Thursday, January 29, 2015 From Township Hall to City Hall During the 1920s, Morris Wattles served as the Troy Township Supervisor. Mr. Wattles was also a history teacher who worked his entire life to preserve his community’s local heritage. In 1927 he supervised the construction of the Troy Township Hall, a Dutch Revival building at 60 W. Wattles Road, which was modeled after a colonial inn in Troy, New York. This style was selected because most of Troy Michigan’s first settlers came from New York State. In addition to the building’s office spaces, Wattles envisioned the single story Pioneer Room at the west end of the building as an exhibit area for local history. He saw to it that old barn beams and a fireplace crane from the inn operated by pioneer Johnson Niles were incorporated into the room’s construction. These features are still intact. The building’s slate roof, interior oak woodwork, frosted glass panels, and terrazzo floor are also all original. The Township Hall became City Hall when Troy became a city in 1955. By 1965 Troy was booming and the building was overcrowded with nearly 50 employees. One worker remarked, “(My office). . . was so crowded, I had to step into the hall to change my mind.” City leadership approved plans to build a new City Hall on Big Beaver Road. After the city employees moved in 1966, the Troy Historical Society and the Historical Commission won approval to use the 1927 building as a museum, fulfilling Mr. Wattles’ dream. Today the building serves as the administrative offices of the Troy Historic Village. The Pioneer Room is used as a teaching and gathering space. Interesting facts about the building:
- There is a hidden hallway in the building whereby you can access a walk-in vault. The concrete ceiling in the vault is nearly 12 inches thick. Inside the walk-in vault is a massive Diebold vault.
- There a single jail cell in the basement, directly under the vault.
- The original City Commission chambers were on the second floor.
Perhaps you’ve driven by this wonderful building for years and always wondered what is was. We invite you to stop in this year, and learn more about it.
To commemorate the City of Troy’s 60th Anniversary in 2015, we will publish a different story each day that highlights a person, discovery, or event that occurred locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally between 1955 and 2015 and that helped shape our lives and our community. We will try to post stories on important anniversary dates, but we also realize that dates are less critical than content and context. We will include the facts related to controversial stories, allowing our readers to form their own opinions. We invite you to read and comment on the stories. Your suggestions for topics are also welcome and can be posted on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TroyHistoricVillage. You can also email stories or ideas to the 365 Story Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org