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Town hall

A town hall (German “Rathaus”) – a house of the council, a representative building of common use and a traditional seat of the municipal government. It appeared already in the middle ages. It housed the council’s meeting hall, town offices, a court room, a prison in the basement and sometimes even a torture chamber.

There is no data concerning the building of town hall in the newly located Gostyń, settled in 1278. It can be assumed that initially – in the 13th and 14th century – the function of the seat of the council was given to one of the buildings in the town square. Perhaps it was the mayor’s house, fundamentally the wealthiest town’s citizen. In such a case the town council must have been renting rooms for its meetings and the town’s offices. However, it is hard to imagine that Gostyń had no town hall throughout the middle ages, given the fact that the city was developing very well.

It is unusually troublesome to establish in what years of the modern era the town hall existed in Gostyń. Supposedly it was present in the 17th and at the beginning of the 18th century. In the town’s records the cost of making keys to the town hall was recorded then. In 1755 there appears the information that the town hall was destroyed and the town council was meeting at Jakub Przezborski’s house.

There certainly wasn’t a town hall in Gostyń in the second half of the 18th century and at the beginning of 19th century. In 1800, 1803, 1806 the town payed a lease rent. A lease contract was signed every three years. On the lists of houses on a detailed map drafted in connection with the fire of 1811, there was no town hall. The own council’s meetings took place in the rooms rented from local craftsmen living in the town square. There is also no information of erecting a town hall at the time of the building boom of 1820-1837. Perhaps it happened slightly later. At the beginning of the 1909 a new Court House was put to use. The judiciary left its seat on the corner of the Town Square and Zamkowa Street (Castle Street). At the same time the municipal government made the decision to find new quarters for the city council and the mayor. On the 21st of February 1910 a meeting of the Town’s Building Committee took place. Fritz Pfeiffer – the manager of the Sugar Plant, Franciszek Polaszek – a master builder, Władysław Nawrocki – a master builder, Adolf Tschirschnitz, Józef Woziwodzki and Tomasz Czabajski participated in this assembly.

The Committee reviewed the contents of offers. Therefore, it must have been decided earlier not to erect a new town hall, but to adapt two neighboring buildings to organize its seat. The designer was Lucjan Michałowski an architect from Poznań.

Once again the Town’s Building Committee (including: Jan Grzymisławski, Władysław Nawrocki, Józef Woziwodzki, Bolesław Ciążyński, Bronisław Pruski, Józef Lewin) gathered on the 13th August 1910. Final arrangements were made. It is difficult to clearly establish today who the building constructor was. In the records two companies are mentioned. One belonging to Franciszek Polaszek and the other to Władysław Nawrocki. The reconstruction of two buildings that were designed to serve as a town hall was completed in 1912.