Located at the corner of East Cheyenne and South Third Streets, the Holly City Hall was built in 1938 as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project designed to consolidate the town of Holly’s administrative offices and departments. It never accomplished that goal, but the town fire and police departments, jail, and library occupied the one-story building for about six decades. In 2003 the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Holly Historical Society now uses it as a local history museum.
A City Hall for the Town of Holly
Before the 1930s, the town of Holly’s administrative offices moved around a lot. Town government offices originally operated out of a building on Main Street before moving to a nearby residence and then, in 1929, to a rented room. In 1932 the town secured a grant to buy land on East Cheyenne Street and build a town office. In January 1938 the town of Holly submitted a proposal for a WPA project to construct a new building that would consolidate all the town’s administrative offices and departments. The proposal was approved that summer and work began immediately on a site across East Cheyenne Street from the existing town office.
The Holly City Hall cost nearly $18,000 and opened on September 18, 1938. The rectangular, one-story building had a spare style with almost no ornamentation. Like the Holly Gymnasium—the town’s other WPA project—it was made using local Niobrara limestone, which could be cut easily but hardened when exposed to air. Lintels and sills were made of local sandstone. The main entrance faced south onto East Cheyenne Street. Inside, the building had a T-shaped plan, with two large front rooms on the south end separated by a central hall. At the north end of the building, smaller rooms and offices opened off a hall that ran from east to west. The building’s northeast corner had a garage that opened onto South Third Street.
The building had “City Hall” painted in block letters over the entry and carved into the cornerstone, but the name was a misnomer in two ways. First, Holly was a town, not a city; second, the town board and administrative offices never moved into the building. The town board used the southeast room for a short time in 1943 but then returned to the older town office across the street. Nevertheless, the City Hall building became a civic and social hub. In 1938 the police and fire departments moved into the rear of the building, which included two jail cells and an office. Two years later, the public library moved into the building’s large southwest room. Across the hall, the meeting room intended for the town board became a community room used for club meetings, elections, parties, and other events.
In 1972 the fire department moved to a new building, and in 1998 the police department also moved. In 2000 the library moved to the newly renovated Holly Santa Fe Depot, which also houses the town hall and other municipal offices. The empty City Hall building started to be used for storage.
In 2003 the Holly City Hall was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2008 the Holly Historical Society received a State Historical Fund grant to restore the building’s exterior and soon started to use the building as a local history museum that occasionally opened for special events. In 2016 the historical society renovated the building’s interior to make it suitable for year-round use, with the goal of opening the museum on a regular basis in May 2017.