The “Old” Greenwich Town Hall

By John Bridge

Before moving the seat of town government to the “New” Town Hall on Field Point Road in the 1970s, our selectmen kept offices in the “Old” Town Hall at 299 Greenwich Avenue. The historic Beaux-Arts building was generously donated to the town in 1904 by one of the town’s most ardent benefactors, Robert Moffat Bruce, and his sister, Sarah E. Bruce.

Mr. Bruce was a New Yorker who, in 1858, purchased the Victorian mansion, “Hawk’s Nest”, on the bluff situated just south of the railroad on Steamboat Road. Although he had been married twice and had three children, he outlived them all and, in his later years, gave much of his time, energy, and money for the betterment of his adopted hometown.

Mr. Bruce’s impact on the town is considerable. In addition to the Town Hall, he also deeded his home in 1908 to the town as “a natural history, historical, and art museum for the use and benefit of the public” and approximately one hundred acres of property that he developed for the enjoyment of all that we now call Bruce Park.

Another fine example of Mr. Bruce’s unostentatious munificence is the land and original buildings that housed the Greenwich General Hospital (1903) on Parsonage Road, which has since been further developed with funding from Rebecca Witherell in memory of her husband, Nathaniel.

In 1962, the “old” Town Hall was expanded by adding one-story wings that flank the entrance and more recently, in 2018, by constructing a ramp for easy access; both additions complement the original architectural style. Today, the building is used as the town’s Senior/Arts Center.

By John Bridge

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