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Battle Creek City Hall

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1913–1914, Ernest W. Arnold. 103 E. Michigan Ave.
  • (Photograph by Balthazar Korab)
  • (Photograph by Balthazar Korab)

As Battle Creek grew in response to the expansion of the cereal food industry, the first city hall, a Second Empire design built in 1867–1868 on the site of the present-day Comerica Tower, seemed inadequate. In 1907, Mayor Charles C. Green appointed a committee to study the matter. A site was chosen by public referendum, and in 1912 the city council selected Arnold as architect for the city hall. Arnold created this large, ponderous, Beaux-Arts classical monument that harmonizes with the nearby Battle Creek Post Office (1907, Albert Kahn; 1930 remodeled and enlarged) at 67 E. Michigan Avenue. The red brick, white limestone, and terra-cotta facade has a five-part composition with a central Ionic portico balanced by two blocklike wings with intermediate recessed connectors. A rusticated ground floor, prominent angle quoins, and a heavy parapet add to the Beaux-Arts image. Heavily enriched neoclassical plasterwork and stained glass highlight the interior of this newly refurbished city hall. The building was a major work for Arnold, designer of numerous Michigan schools and institutional buildings.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert

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