Town Hall

The Town Board continued to meet at Lamb’s Hotel, which was repurchased by Barnum and then by William Liep. At the Annual Town Meeting in 1885, the top priority for Township residents was to construct a Town Hall. On June 2, 1885, Town officials met with the architect to discuss the plans and specifications of the Town Hall. The contract for construction was awarded in September and the first Town Board meeting held in the Town Hall was on March 9, 1886.

In 2006, it was discovered that the man who designed the White Bear Town Hall was renowned architect Cass Gilbert. Gilbert became famous for designing the United States Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C., the Detroit Public Library, the F.W. Woolworth Company Building in New York City and the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, among others.

An 1885 trade magazine, Inland Architect and Building, stated that Gilbert had been appointed to design the White Bear Town Hall. His commission was confirmed in the 1891 Rasher Insurance Atlas of St. Paul and Vicinity. The young architect was later hired to design 17 additional structures on the lake. Many of his designs were homes for well-to-do families.

For over 120 years the Town Hall has served White Bear Township as its primary meeting place. Over those years it has been no stranger to controversy. At the turn of the twentieth century the Town Hall hosted two groundbreaking elections. During the General Election of October 30, 1894, there were 233 registered voters in White Bear Township. Two hundred-ten men and twenty women voted in that election. In the General Election of November 4, 1902, there were 205 male votes and 19 female votes cast. Town Chairman Willie A. Gall personally delivered the vote totals to the Ramsey County Auditor’s Office in St. Paul. Notably, women were not legally qualified to vote in such elections until 1920. There is no other record of White Bear women voting in elections until it was lawful to do so.

Source: “White Bear: A History,” by Catherine Carey, 2008