Editorâ€™s note: On Sunday, April 9, from 2 -5 p.m., the new City Hall/Fire Station complex will be officially dedicated.
In anticipation of the event, the Lincoln Times-News is running a series of articles this and next week. This weekâ€™s articles are reprinted from 1970, when the previous City Hall/Fire Station was dedicated. (The articles are run as they appeared as best can be deciphered from the photocopied text provided the LTN.)
By GLADYS CHILDS
After serving for 21 years as a â€œtemporary City Hall,â€ Lincolntonâ€™s old City Hall today stands vacant and cold awaiting the wrecking crew which will tear it down to make way for a parking lot at the site on the corner of East Main and Poplar Street.
In 1949 the old nine-room frame house, that was once a stately mansion, was converted into a temporary City Hall housing the city administrative departments and the auto license bureau.
The Chamber of Commerce office was formerly upstairs.
This historic house was built in 1850 by Colonel Shipp, a relative of Lt. William Shipp, casualty of the Spanish American War. Colonel Shipp was an officer during the American War with Mexico. After his death the house was used as a parsonage for Methodist ministers.
Captian C.E. Childs bought the house, remodeling it in 1913-14. Capt. Childs came to Lincolnton in the late 1890â€™s. He died at the home January 27th, 1932.
His son Sherwood and his wife lived in the home. Captian Childsâ€™ daughter Mrs. Susie Truesdell and another daughter Bess (Mrs. Drayton) Wolfe also lived in the home.
When the estate was divided, following the captainâ€™s death, the home was sold and became a rental house. The late A.E. Miller bought the house at a sale when the division was made, later the City, with its City Hall located in the Court House, was seeking a home of its own. The plan was to tear down the Childs house and build a City Hall on the property. The City condemned the rental house and took it over in the 1940s, as it was too expensive for City Hall to stay in the Court House. For rent the City was paying the water and power bills for County facilities, thus in late 1949 the City Hall moved into the old Childs Home â€œtemporarily,â€ where it has been ever since.
The interior was remodeled to fit the office needs of the Police and administrative people. A far cry from being the â€œSouthern Mansionâ€ it once was when Mrs. C.E. Childs Sr. and her daughters Susie and Bess spent many a pleasant afternoon sitting on the front porch, long since torn down to fit City Hall decor.
In Captian Childs day it was a popular gathering place for young boys. Mr. Childs erected a tennis court nearby, the 90 x 190 ft. lot was Lincolntonâ€™s first public playground.
Today the Captainâ€™s son W. Hampton Childs Sr. is the only member of the immediate family to remember the old days his brother C.E. Childs Jr., Sherwood and their sisters Susie and Bess were a united family.