By the turn of the century business was booming in Hensall. An article in an Expositor of the day noted that grain men in the village had been shipping large quantities of barley and other crops on the London, Huron and Bruce Line. Hensall’s Market became known as the best, west of Toronto. The only thing the villagers of the day seemed to lack was a Town Hall.
In 1913 land was donated to the village to build a Town Hall. In 1914 G.C. Petty submitted to council a petition signed by 84 rate payers asking for a Town Hall to be built for an approximate cost of $5000.00. The Hall was then constructed by Welsh & Soldan with H. Reynolds as the architect. The plans called for a building 40 feet by 70 feet with seating capacity of 450.
Boasting such architectural features as a decorative tin ceiling, central circular floor grate and gallery, the Hensall Heritage Hall was, in its heyday, the grand dame of Main Street Hensall. The Town Hall became the village activity centre, drawing crowds from miles around to the dance and performances held there. The Hall remained the heart of the Hensall community from 1914 – 1970. By the 1970’s however, after the Hall’s walls and floors were starting to wear out and had to be condemned from dancing, though “less strenuous” activities were still permitted. On October 2, 1975 the newly renovated Town Hall was opened following six months of work and an expenditure of $20,000.00. The renovations included the clerks office and the library expansion.
It is the hope of the Hensall Heritage Hall committee and its many supporters that following restoration the Hall will once again be a vital part of life in the community. Once restoration is completed the hall will feature such modern amenities as an elevator and comfortable portable seating that will allow for greater accessibility and multi-purpose usage.
In front of the building a semi-circular bench featuring a life-size sculpture, by local artist/blacksmith Jim Wallace, honours the village’s founding brothers James and George Petty and offers patrons of the Hall a chance to take a seat beside Hensall history.
The Hensall Heritage Hall top hat logo also pays tribute to the brothers as they appear in their famous photo.