of 1894 the Northern Tribune announced that Williams and Johnston,
architects of Ogdensburg, had completed plans for a new town hall in
Edwards, N.Y., to replace the one recently destroyed by fire.
Two years later this handsome building in the Richardsonian
Romanesque style, using Potsdam sandstone, Gouverneur marble and
brick, was completed. The ground floor provided space for
municipal offices and at various times through the years also housed
a jail, the post office, a bank, a barbershop, a roller-skating
rink, and presently, the Edwards History Center. An open stair
in the corner tower of the building gave access to the second floor
opera house used for school graduations and theatrical performances
by local as well as traveling shows. It was also the polling
place and later became a movie house. This historic town hall,
with various modifications still serves the town and village of
Edwards. It is presently in need of extensive repair and
rehabilitation that are in keeping with its historic features.
With this in view the Edwards Arts Council was formed in 2002.
Crawford Stearns, architects and preservation planners of Syracuse,
were retained to assess the condition of the building and make
recommendations for a program of restoration and expanded use.
Their report was funded by the New York State Council on the
Arts. A fund-raising program with strong community support is
in progress. It includes the use of the opera house as a venue
for a series of varied musical programs through the summer months
and a free Halloween show for children in October. It is hoped
that the preservation of the town hall and opera house will be the
keystone of local revitalization efforts and a model for broader
economic renewal effecting the structure and economy of Edwards as
well as the surrounding area.