City Hall Named to National Register of Historic Places

Date of release:  July 17, 2017

City HallThe City of Paducah is pleased to receive the notification from the Kentucky Heritage Council that City Hall located at 300 South 5th Street is now listed on the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places.  City Hall was nominated under Criterion C which focuses on the design, architecture, and construction of the building. The National Park Service officially listed City Hall on July 13.  (View ‘Weekly List for July 14, 2017’ at http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/nrlist.htm to see listing.)

Mayor Brandi Harless says, “City Hall is a piece of the heritage of Paducah that we feel a responsibility in honoring and saving.  This listing on the National Register of Historic places allows the City to apply for historic tax credits through the State of Kentucky which would be used to help fund Phase IA of the building’s renovation.” 

Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.

Downtown Development Specialist/Paducah Main Street Director Melinda Winchester submitted the nomination application for City Hall.  Winchester says, “I was thrilled to have the opportunity to develop the nomination for Paducah’s City Hall.  We are very fortunate to have a building that continues to portray its authenticity as a progressive modern structure of the 1960s.  Efforts are being made across the state and country to preserve these modern buildings that have been erected in the lifetime of many Americans but that do not seem old to most people, let alone historic or even significant.” 

Winchester adds, “Many people do not understand the important ways Modern design and planning changed cities across the nation.  The Modern era was a highly misunderstood and controversial period of our architectural history but a period that made important contributions to our built environment and history of design and culture. Hopefully, with the official listing of our Paducah City Hall onto the National Register of Historic Places, it will bring a new appreciation and awareness to one of most significant pieces of architecture that continues to represent our progressive, creative community.”

Construction of Paducah’s City Hall began in 1963 with a dedication ceremony held February 28, 1965. Edward Durell Stone, one of the foremost architects of the mid-twentieth century, designed the building.  Stone also designed the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Radio City Music Hall, the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, and the U.S. Pavilion for the Brussels World’s Fair.  Several of his buildings have features that resemble Paducah’s City Hall.

Included in the nomination application for City Hall is a Statement of Significance paragraph.  A portion of the paragraph is as follows: 

Referred to as a “shrine to Democracy” the building symbolizes the prevailing will of the citizens of Paducah and three administrations committed to renewal and economic resurgence of the City.  The building became the face and new image of the city and a symbol of progress under Paducah’s Local Urban Renewal Program and the Federal Capital Grant Program for Urban Renewal under Title I.  With the design of an internationally known architect, and the most prominent representation of New Formalism design in the city of Paducah, the property is also architecturally significant evaluated within the historic context of New Formalism Architecture in Paducah, Kentucky 1960-1965.  The building resulted from a highly successful collaboration between a prominent architect and a City determined to express its distinct identity through a landmark civic building.  The building’s striking design-employing the classical symmetry, colonnaded portico and geometric elements-displays Paducah’s most accomplished instance of New Formalist design.  The Period of Significance begins in 1963, the original construction date and runs until 1965, when the building’s construction was complete.  The property’s significant period continues to contribute to the architectural environment of the City of Paducah as an unprecedented local architectural monument and a symbol of mid-century progressive movement within local government into the present.

The City of Paducah has in place an Architecture and Engineering contract with Marcum Engineering for the first phase of City Hall’s rehabilitation. Phase IA will include the rehabilitating and improving of City Hall’s roof, concrete overhang (canopy), façade, heating and cooling systems, and windows.  The estimated cost for design services and construction along with a construction contingency is approximately $4.9 million.  The goal is to complete the design and bidding process so that Phase IA construction can begin early in 2018. 

Funds have been identified for the project using a combination of anticipated historic tax credits, the remaining funds from the City Hall visioning and design project with RATIO, and reserve funds from the General Fund and Solid Waste Fund. 

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