History

Ridgeville Township was first settled in May, 1810, by settlers from Waterbury, Connecticut. The township was organized in 1813, and remained "Ridgeville Township" until 1958. However, the local post office was first called "North Ridgeville" in 1829.

The township's first permanent Towne Hall was a frame structure erected in about 1850 on the present site of the Old Towne Hall, on land leased from Levi W. Terrell, who lived in the house just west of the site.

On March of 1882 the citizens of the township decided to vote at the April election upon the question of whether to build a new, larger towne hall. The measure passed by a three-to one margin, and bids were received, with Elah Terrell (a Ridgeville native) and a Mr. Morris receiving the contract.

Many community events took place at the new hall. Family reunions were held in the buildings or on the grounds; for example, the annual reunion and picnic of the Terrell and Beebe families (Ridgeville's original pioneers).

Lectures, performances by traveling opera companies, festivals, patriotic observances, plays, minstrel shows, Grange meetings, church dinners and programs, ice cream socials, spelling bees, and the eighth-grade Boxwell examinations and graduations were just some of the activities held at the Towne Hall during its first 50 years. When the Ridgeville Centennial was observed in May, 1910, the Towne Hall was the scene of speeches, historical orientations and a general gathering of long-time residents and friends marking the townships first century.

The lower story was designed for holding elections and general township business. The second story was for public meetings, lectures, concerts, etc. -- being furnished with a stage on the south end, 5 chandeliers, and "298 fine opera chairs" on a sloping floor rising back from the stage. Ridgeville Center

During World War 1, the Red Cross women met at the Towne Hall and spent many hours sewing for the "doughboys."

Reflecting the areas rural nature, for many years the Lorain Country Farmers' Institute held their annual tow-day meetings at Ridgeville's Town Hall beginning in 1897. These programs included entertainment, speeches, music, and dinners with the local school children often participating.

Before the centralized school was built at Ridgeville Center (now the Junior High) in 1923, some public school classes were held at the Towne Hall.

Ridgeville Towne Hall was chosen as the site of District No. 5 of the Lorain County Draft Board during World War II. For a few years, beginning in the late 1940's volunteer adult chaperons supervised a teenage social club called "Harmony Hangout" which met Friday and Saturday nights at the Town Hall.

Ridgeville's first kindergarten classes were held in the Towne Hall from September 1946 until about 1958. The women who taught the classes during those years were Dorothy Day Gates and Francis Mills. In about 1959, classes were moved to the Grange Hall on Avon-Belden road.

Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts held their meetings here. The annual Girl Scout Christmas tree lighting has long been held at the Towne Hall. The Ridgeville Garden Club sponsored their annual Garden Show as well. Dr. P. L. Morgan of Ridgeville researched the Towne Hall's History and had the "1882" date carved above the building's front door.

At the end of 1958, Ridgeville Township was incorporated as a village. For about a year and a half a temporary village Council and Mayor (Luke Loufman) maintained their offices in what was now called Ridgeville Village Hall.

By August of 1960 the village's population was sufficient enough (over 5,000) to allow the incorporation to the "City of North Ridgeville." A new City Council was formed, a permanent police department replaced the previous Township constable, and the fire department was expanded.

During the 1960's the first floor of the Town Hall was remodeled twice as expanding City offices and increased heating costs required such change. Small offices were partitioned off, ceilings were lowered, doors were replaced, etc. The exterior was also sandblasted at this time.

In January, 1975 the Towne Hall was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and later that same year City government offices were moved to the current City Hall on Avon-Belden Road.

The Olde Towne Hall Players were formed and began restoration of the second-floor theater in about 1976. In 1977, the North Ridgeville Public Library moved into the first floor of what was now known as the Olde Towne Hall. The library remained there until September 1989.

The Centennial and the re-dedication of North Ridgeville's Olde Towne Hall was celebrated in 1982. Speeches were made by representatives of the City government, the Centennial Committee, the North Ridgeville Historical Society and other residents of the town.

In the fall of 1989 North Ridgeville City Council organized the North Ridgeville Historical Society to have use of the first floor of the Olde Town Hall for it museum and meeting place.
© 2017. City of North Ridgeville – 7307 Avon Belden Road, North Ridgeville, OH 44039 – 440.353.0819