Our Town Hall Was Built Debt Free

by Ryan on May 13, 2011

I love our town hall. We live about a half of a mile from the building and can just about see the top spire through the trees from our yard.  It’s a beautiful colonial type building located at the corner of Titus Avenue and King’s Highway, the geographical center of our town of Irondequoit.

Looking for a subject to test out some time-lapse equipment and getting lucky with a partly cloudy day, I lugged my stuff to the courtyard and set up for shooting. Part of the reason I like to experiment with time-lapse so much is that it forces you to really experience a scene.  Instead of walking up and snapping a few photos of a landscape or a subject, most shots take 30 minutes or more to complete so it’s not uncommon to spend about half of a day really breathing in what you are shooting.

While my camera was clicking away I had plenty of time to read about the town’s history and about how the building came to be.  I found the story pretty inspiring and I would like to share it with you:

Stewardship from LearnTimeLapse.com on Vimeo.

Completed in 1951, the Irondequoit Town Hall is more than just a place where town business gets done, it symbolizes a way of thinking that was rare back then and almost nonexistent today.  Here is the original inspirational account from Modern Civic Affairs (1957)

It is a fire-proof building, 60 by 121 feet, with two stories and a basement.
It provides rooms with modern facilities for conducting the business of the
town’s many departments. It was built at a cost of $500,000 without added burden
to the taxpayers, for the reason that the late Supervisor, Thomas E. Broderick,
and the Town Councilmen had quietly set aside funds, over a period of years,
with which to provide the new structure.

The first spadeful of earth was turned by Supervisor Broderick on April 4,
1949 and two hundred people attended that ceremony. However, Mr. Broderick did
not live to see the completion of the building. He passed away October 1, 1949,
but the building is really a memorial to his foresight and sound planning.

Town supervisor Thomas Broderick made a decision. More than just deciding that his town needed a proper place to meet and conduct business, he decided that he would pay for the construction with frugality and restraint. He decided that this building would be an asset for the town’s people, not a liability.

This really struck a chord with me. So many times today we satisfy our needs and wants by giving up little pieces of the future. Whether it’s new furniture at 2 years no interest or a new church gymnasium, we trade options and freedom later for new stuff today. I am not saying it’s easy or that we always do the right thing. I am saying that the future is always uncertain and there is a way to have both freedom and stuff. Thomas Broderick made the hard choices, and his town is forever grateful.


Mercedes May 13, 2011 at 8:18 am

Beautiful video and I really liked the time-lapse work! Such a fascinating history behind the building of your town hall! It is a shame that more cities and states, and even our own government don’t have the same discipline and foresight that supervisor Broderick had….

South County Girl May 15, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Thank you for sharing this. In a era where government is only getting larger and trying to borrow its way out of most of its problems, its nice to be reminded of how government should operate… with the citizen’s best interests at heart.


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