Voting for the 2022 Best Places in Local Government (aka the #ELGLKnope) Round of 32 opens on March 7, 2022 and closes at midnight PT on Friday, March 11, 2022. One vote per person. Learn more about this award online.
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Ridgefield City Hall (formerly Ridgefield State Bank)
Ridgefield, Washington 98642
- Year(s)/Era: 1920’s
- Type of Place: Building
- Nomination: The building, originally the Ridgefield State Bank and now Ridgefield City Hall, was constructed in 1920. The Ridgefield State Bank opened in a shared building in 1910, but after nearly a decade of business the growth of the institution, the desire to present a more formal face to the town, and the need for a stronger brick structure with a heavily-reinforced vault led the bank to seek a new location. Construction began in June, 1920 when the 11’ x 14’ vault, touted as having 18” thick walls reinforced with 1” steel bars placed 6” apart was under construction. The bank officially opened at the end of December and celebrated the new year (1921) with a public open house which attracted about 400 people.
The bank stayed in business throughout the Great Depression of the 1930s and significant local population decline. In 1954 the bank had expanded and changed its name to First Independent Bank – the headquarters moved to Hazel Dell and the Ridgefield State Bank became one of two branches. The bank continues to grow, with new branches opening every couple years for a period.
In August of 1974 the City of Ridgefield officially expressed interest in obtaining Ridgefield’s First Independent Bank for use as city hall. The city asked that the building be donated for civic usage and stated their intent to “restore and maintain it as a historical landmark.” The bank agreed to the donation, with the caveat that the building not be used for commercial purposes. On March 13, 1975 the Ridgefield City Council voted to accept the offer of First Independent to use the former bank building as City Hall.
The City completed renovations to modernize the building in 2013 and retained the original look and character, including as much of the original materials as possible. The tile in the lobby is original, and the front counter was previously a bank-teller counter.
Today, the former Ridgefield State Bank building continues to serve as City Hall for the burgeoning city of Ridgefield. Portraits of all of the city mayors since incorporation are on display, and the vault remains a centerpiece of the building.
- Most notable attribute(s): The 11’x14’ vault and vault door and the brick, Classic Revival architecture.
- Special designations or recognitions: Clark County Heritage Register
- Three words to describe: Unique, Recognizable, Grand
- Anything else to share? In 2013 a time capsule from 1926 was found in the building next door to City Hall. The capsule and it’s contents were given to the city for safekeeping. The capsule contained several newspaper clippings, certificates from the I.O.O., an advertisement for a benefit movie now framed and hung on the back wall (pictured).
City of Ridgefield
Ridgefield, Washington 98642