A great deal of Proctor’s history is tied directly to the Railroad, but one of the City’s most iconic pieces of community history is Proctor Village Hall, and not just because its title is etched on the building face.
Located on the same site as the existing building, Proctor’s first village hall was constructed in 1896, just two years after the Village of Proctorknott was founded. Built at a cost of $283, this original village hall was described frequently as a “shack,” but caused a stir among an angry citizenry, which demanded an accounting of the building’s “gross extravagance.” When the accounting was presented, $154 was reportedly spent on a stone foundation while $35 was spent on truss rods and labor.
Following nearly 40 years of use in the old village hall, Proctor citizens voiced the need for a new structure in 1935. A two-story, reinforced concrete building including city offices on its ground floor and a multi-purpose space on its second floor was designed as a replacement, and the old village hall was demolished in 1938 for construction of the new structure. While the new village hall was originally estimated to cost $45,000, in the fashion of its predecessor, construction of the new building stirred up controversy again, costing over $50,000 more than its initial bid at $102,000 by the time the building was dedicated in 1940.
In 2002, community services were transferred to the new Proctor Area Community Center on Pionk Drive. But during its 60 years of service, Proctor Village Hall served as a hub of community life in the village-turned-city, hosting community meetings, weddings, dances, girl scout meetings, and the City’s annual Memorial Day Ceremony, which was started in 1934.
Though now used as an apartment complex, the building with its original exterior continues to stand at the corner of 2nd Street and 2nd Avenue, serving as a constant reminder of a treasured (and apparently financially tight) era in Proctor history.