THE STORY OF THE RAMONA TOWN HALL:
"As the story goes, Augustus thought it improper for dances to carry on
all night at the school house, and that the growing town needed a place to
serve that purpose as well as a library."
The Ramona Town Hall was donated to the town people of
what was then Nuevo on Washington's Birthday, February 22, 1894, by Augustus
and Martha Barnett. Construction on the two story edifice began on
July 11, 1893 on two lots donated by realtor Milton Santee, and was
completed in February 1894 at a cost of $17,000. (Later that year, at
the insistence of Mr. Santee, the town was renamed Ramona, to capitalize on
the popularity of the fictional character from the best seller by
Helen Hunt Jackson.) The Barnett's established an unpaid five member
board of trustees in perpetuity to administer the operation and upkeep of
the Town Hall. For the past 118 years, the Ramona Town Hall has operated
solely on private donations, fundraisers, grant moneys, and rent collected
for use of the building. The Ramona Town Hall is not owned by the Town
Hall Board of Trustees, nor is it a public agency. The restoration
work that has taken place in the past 27 years has been funded by county
administered C.D.B.G. and P.L.D.O. funds, along with private donations and
the fundraising efforts of the board of trustees and honorary mayor.
The work completed to date includes a complete seismic retrofit of the
entire front portion of the building, installation of new plumbing and
electric wiring in the east and west wings, three new restrooms, a new roof
over the entire building, façade replacement, and fire sprinklers throughout
the entire building.
The California Landmarks Advisory Committee approved
the Ramona Town Hall as a Point of Historic Interest on January 26, 1973
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors designated
the Ramona Town Hall as a Historic Landmark on November 10, 1991
Ramona Town Hall celebrated its 100th Anniversary on February 22, 1994.
The "Save our Heritage Organization" presented the
Ramona Town Hall Board of Trustees with the prestigious “Civic Restoration
Award” on May 10, 1994, the Centennial Year of the completion of the Town
The Ramona Town Hall was placed on the
National Register of Historic Places on September 26, 1994.
The John P. Squibob Chapter 1853 of E
Clampus Vitas dedicated a historic marker plaque for the Ramona Town Hall on
April 25th, 2009 (The Chapter also presented a plaque that recognizes the
Ramona Town Hall's place on the National Register of Historic Places.
The 115 year old Town Hall is one of the oldest and last original Town Halls
in California, and is registered as a State Historic Landmark.
Ramona Town Hall is one of the largest and oldest adobe structures in the
entire Southwest, and features an Romanesque/Mission Revival architecture, a
style unique to its architect,
William Sterling Hebbard (1863-1930)
A renewed interest in completing the
seismic retrofit and restoration of the Ramona Town Hall is currently
underway. What truly promises to be a community project that every
citizen of Ramona can take pride in is taking shape.
YOUR HELP IS NEEDED.
Now that we have nearly completed the
seismic retrofit and restoration of the entire front half of the building,
we are seeking donations to help cover the approximate cost of $150,000 to
$200,000 for the engineering and architectural work needed to start work on
the Main Hall. It is estimated the complete retrofit and restoration
of the Main Hall will cost upwards of $2 Million. Qualified Volunteer
labor and material donations will greatly reduce this estimate.
For the past 119 years, the Town Hall has
served as a community focal point and meeting place for the people of
Ramona. It is the goal of the Ramona Town Hall Board of Trustees, and
Friends of the Town Hall, to make this historic landmark available again to
the people of our community. Send us an
e-mail, or call the Town Hall at 760-789-8696 (TOWN) to have your name
placed on our volunteer contact list.