City Hall: A Reminder of Auburn’s Legacy

Auburn’s City Hall is 100 years old this year. It was constructed during the building boom era of 1911-1915. During that time Auburn City Hall and DeKalb County Courthouse were built; philanthropist Charles Eckhart donated funds to construct Eckhart Public Library, the YMCA and, of course, Eckhart Park. In this age of disposable everything, it’s remarkable that all of these facilities are still serving our community today.

The same passion 100 years later

Fittingly, as we mark City Hall’s anniversary, we find ourselves wrapping up another period of construction in Auburn. In the last two years, we’ve invested close to $30 million in construction projects. While we’ve not constructed new community facilities like they did 100 years ago, we’ve undergone construction with the same spirit: making Auburn a place where people want to live and work.

Everything we’ve done has been to ensure our town maintains the quality of life we’ve all come to value. In 2012 and 2013, that consisted of building a new sewer plant, widening roads, laying fiber, adding utility services to businesses, paving a park trail, repurposing excess softball fields, replacing street signs, championing downtown revitalization, expanding sidewalks, upgrading utility meters and replacing water lines. Maybe not as exciting as a city hall; however, just as valuable to the community’s long-term vitality.

Living our legacy today

From the beginning, City Hall has housed the core departments of the local government. That still stands true today. And as I walk through City Hall every day, I feel pride that this current generation of city employees is carrying on the legacy started 100 years ago when Mayor Hugh Culbertson was overseeing the construction of many new facilities. While we serve a larger population and the way we deliver services is much different today (horses pulled the fire brigade 100 years ago!), our government employees do it with the same dedication and passion. We see needs in the community and try to come together to figure out how to solve them. And from where I’m standing in City Hall, the future is just as bright today as it was in 1913.


1914 postmarked postcard view of the new City Hall in Auburn, Indiana. This view is looking northeast across the intersection." From the collection of Thomas Keesling.

1914 postmarked postcard view of the new City Hall in Auburn, Indiana. This view is looking northeast across the intersection.” From the collection of Thomas Keesling.