CNBNews Note: The above building today is used for the City's Municipal Offices
February 28, 2019 | CNBNewsnet
The building located on King Street north of Hudson Street and known as Washington Hall, was erected by David S. Brown to service the needs of his mill employees. This building completed in 1845 contained a general store and meeting hall.
Thomas Hallum, a New Englander, came to Gloucester about 1845. He started a grocery and general store on the first floor. In 1855 he added a drug department where he compounded physicians’ prescriptions. This was the first apothecary business in our city. The store was a meeting place during the Civil War days. In May 1864, both factions, the Copperheads and the Wooly Heads, met together there to argue. There were a number of sympathizers of the Southern cause here.
The Odd Fellows Lodge was the first to be instituted in Gloucester and their meetings were held in Washington Hall. This Odd Fellows Lodge voted to permit the use of their room to the first gathering of members of the Catholic faith in Gloucester in January 1848, for morning and evening services.
The Cloud Lodge of Masons was formed in 1869. They also met in Washington Hall, that being the only building at this date suitable for that purpose. The Church of the Ascension parish was organized in 1847, and the Sunday School and church services were held in Washington Hall and continued there until the present church was completed in 1849.
The post office occupied Washington Hall from 1849 to 1853 and again from 1881 to 1885. Postmaster Charles H. Barnard also had a real estate business in 1886 at Washington Hall.
The Presbyterian congregation held meetings in Washington Hall from 1847 to 1849, when the present church was ready for service.
Other organizations which met in Washington Hall were: The Knights of Pythias Lodge in 1869; Standing Elk Tribe Red Men; William Post G.A.R. and the Sons of St. George Lodge.
Mrs. Mary Kirkpatrick had a millinery and dry goods store there in the early 90’s.
The two oldest newspapers published in Gloucester were published in Washington Hall in the early 80’s.
The First Baptist Church was organized April 4th, 1867 in Washington Hall, where services were held until the frame meeting house was built. The A.O. of Hibernians also met there.
D. Davis Department Store in 1924 occupied the first floor. Maurice Green, in 1939, had a 5&10 cent store. Smith’s Wholesale Candies and Cigars in 1950 was located on the first floor.
The United Mutual Loan and Building Association
The United Mutual Loan and Building Association was formed at a meeting held on August 17th, 1866. William W. Fernald was elected secretary and the following named as directors; Wm. S. McCallister, Hugh J. Gorman, James L. Hines, James Nield, Peter McAdams, Wm. Arnes, Philip Ritner and Joseph R. Smith. Samuel Raby was chosen president and Albert J. Greene as treasurer.
The first year the receipts were $8,957 and the amount loaned was $8600.
In the first twenty years three hundred persons had been aided in securing homes.
After ninety-eight years, the same associating is doing business under the present officers.
Presiden, Ernest M. Ritchie; Secretary, Peter F. McGlade; Treasurer, Frederick Floyd.
(CNBNews EDITOR'S NOTE)--The above was copied from the booklet The History of Gloucester City, NJ. The year 1964 was the 341st anniversary of the State of New Jersey (1664 to 1964). That year Gloucester City's Mayor and Council authorized a Tercentenary Celebration with a number of events planned to emphasized Gloucester City's rich history. In 1964 a 50-page booklet titled THE HISTORY OF GLOUCESTER CITY compiled by the Gloucester City Jaycees, with the help of the Gloucester City Historical Society was published and distributed to residents. The book contained historical photos and documents, that began with the early history of the different Indian tribes that lived in and around Gloucester City.
RELATED: Gloucester City History
Part Seven: Gingham Mills, Iron Works, Shad, Race Track
Part Six: The Brick Building; Library; Rotary Club
Part Five: Bill Thompson, The Duke of Gloucester
PART FOUR: Fire Dept./Police Dept./Water Dept.