Up until early 1928, the Oddfellows’ Hall in Maitland Street (now known as Gospel Hall) was used for most local public functions. When this hall was bought by a religious group the need for a purpose built town hall became imperative.
Locals banded together to raise the amount of 3250 pound to go towards the building of Town Board offices, a public library and a hall. A plot of land was chosen out of six suggested with the site on Halstead Rd being the eventual winner.
This appealing red brick and plaster building was designed by the architect A.E. Lewis and the successful tender was awarded to Geo.Dawson, builder. Work started quickly and the hall was completed and officially opened on 20 December 1928 by the Temuka MP, T.D. Burnett, who announced it to be “the reddest letter day in the history of Pleasant Point”.
Very soon the hall and supper room were in frequent use with weekly film shows, school functions, dances, meetings, euchre, balls and flower shows regularly held, even a miniature rifle range was set up under the stage for target shooting!. The Town Board met regularly in the Board Room, the office was opened once a week for ratepayers’ business, it was a lively, busy centre of Point life.
However things combined to bring about the decline in use of this once very necessary public amenity. The Board Room fell into disuse with the termination of the Town Board in 1954 and the Office was closed in the 1970s when it was considered no longer economic to employ a Town Clerk.
At the original hall opening, part of T.D. Burnett’s speech included the words “There is a tendency for people to drift to larger centres for their amusement…” these proved to be prophetic words. During the boom years of 1950’s and 60’s many organisations built their own halls. Television arrived and movies were no longer popular, cars became more available so the regular dances went out of fashion as the young headed to Timaru for their Saturday night fun and local organisations no longer considered the balls a worthwhile venture.
I’m happy to report that some areas of the building are still well supported and there it stands on Halstead Street, looking well cared for, displaying its name and date for all to see.
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