Hammond Hall is an historic, 2-story, balconied community building, built in 1904 as the town center of Winter Harbor. It is named for Edward J. Hammond, who grew up in Winter Harbor, was the founder of Hammond Lumber Company, and who donated the land and building materials used to construct the hall.
It was at the center of community life for more than half a century, serving as town hall, gymnasium, ballroom, and meeting place. A new high school was built in 1952, and from that time on, use of Hammond Hall began to decline. In the early 1980s, there was increasing anxiety about the cost of heating the building and that the 2nd floor, where town offices were, was not handicap accessible. After much controversy, Winter Harbor decided to give up use of Hammond Hall as its town office. Soon after, a new gymnasium for the elementary school was built. Use of the Hall plummeted. Hammond Hall was given to the Winter Harbor HistoricalSociety. Money to maintain the building was scarce. It fell into disrepair and by 2002 was slated to be burned down in a fire drill.
By happy coincidence, Schoodic Arts for All, a newly created arts organization was looking for a home. It entered into a long-term lease agreement with the Historical Society and has reinvigorated the Hammond Hall with performances, workshops, lectures, dances, meetings, proms, even funerals. This year, Schoodic Arts will present over 100 performances and conduct almost 100 workshops. It has made its facilities available to many organizations in town and once again, Hammond Hall is at the center of community life.
In 2002, Hammond Hall was added to the National Registry. Since then, Schoodic Arts for All has been dedicated to an ongoing effort to preserve and restore the building. All work has been done with great sensitivity.
Since our beginning in 1999, Schoodic Arts for All has been an integral part of our community as an arts presenting organization. In addition, we also are a centerpiece for the downtown renovation, a positive influence on the economic situation, a resource for the schools in our district and a venue for the community events in our town.
In 2002 we gained a long-term lease on this historic performance hall that was slated for demolition. This began a relationship and collaboration with the Winter Harbor Historical Society. We have been restoring this Main Street historic landmark as the centerpiece for downtown Winter Harbor. After registering Hammond Hall on the National Register for Historic Places we have filled the building with activity ranging from performances to memorial services. It is truly the jewel of the downtown community.
Each year we are pleased to make available the use of our building to nonprofits, schools and other community groups at no cost to them. We fill the hall with performances, exhibits, meetings and school programs; even town meetings. This makes us a primary community building entity for this area, providing business and social networking and promoting civic health.
For example, last year we hosted hundreds of public events in our building. In addition to our own schedule of 100 performances, 12 art exhibits, and 100 workshops, we hosted a half dozen public contra dances, Downtown shopping night, town meetings and a dance. Also, among our collaborations, we hosted 12 meetings of the Chamber of Commerce.