Irmo looks to move from history-packed town hall to a new one

Posted 4/4/24

While eyes are set on a new town hall, Irmo residents and leaders have a plethora of history to reflect upon in the old town hall. 

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Irmo looks to move from history-packed town hall to a new one


While eyes are set on a new town hall, Irmo residents and leaders have a plethora of history to reflect upon in the old town hall. 

“I use the analogy all the time, and I use it with my staff, that we’re growing up as a town, but just like us as humans, you know, I'm the same Courtney I was when I was nine years old. I just grew up,” said Irmo town administrator Courtney Dennis. “We want Irmo to be the same Irmo we were in 1890, but we're growing up.”

Talk of a new town hall has been on the Irmo town council’s radar for a while now, though the current town hall on Woodrow Street and its history will stay with the town.

The Woodrow Street location isn’t the first location and definitely isn’t the last. According to JR Fennel, director of the Lexington County Museum, Irmo, like many municipalities, held its council meetings in various stores before a proper town hall was constructed.

Fennel told the Chronicle that Irmo’s first town hall was constructed in 1953 and is located just down the street from the current town hall. Its reason for moving the first time is the same as this time: space.

This move occurred in 1977 when the town purchased a lot, located at 1239 Columbia Ave. from MC Smith; this lot is where the second hall was constructed.

The second move was in 1988 to its current location. Right now, Irmo and its staff are housed in the historical Mathias-Lown House that was moved to the Woodrow Street location. Interestingly, during the move, the house got stuck on St. Andrews Road.

According to “Irmo and the Dutch Fork Legacy: A Centennial Celebration,” a book published by The Independent News for The Irmo Centennial Commission, the current town hall is a Queen Anne style that was built in 1905.

The town hall was donated by the Lown family.

Dennis told the Chronicle that although he has never met any original family members of the Mathias or Lown families, they are still ingrained within the community and town. The administrator also shared a story where an older woman came to the town hall, having once lived in the home, and was telling staff what room used to be her’s, but the family the woman came from is unknown.

Within the next few years, the town hall will be located just down the road, having secured land near the town’s police department. Former mayor Barry Walker previously told the Chronicle that the town received a $500,000 appropriation grant from the state for the new facility.

Dennis said that the current home has served them well, adding that it is hard to operate their organization at the level the town is at today.

One resident, Mary Kennerly, has called the town of Irmo home since 1973, telling the Chronicle that when she and her husband moved here, there was a street with their last name.

They chose to live in Irmo because before moving here, they asked about the best schools, and Irmo was it. Kennerly shed some light on how the town has changed, saying that to make a call from Irmo schools to Chapin schools was considered a long distance call.

She also touched on how Harbison Boulevard, a now bustling roadway, was a dirt road when they moved here.

“It helps us understand where we came from and how this town got to be here,” Kennerly said on why preserving history is important. “I think the values that came with the early history here are something that a lot of people want to preserve. It was very much a rural farm community. It was a very German community. I don't think English became the official language until the late 1800s. 

A lot of times if you preserve the history, it's attractive. It helps people know that there's some consistency here.”

Irmo, town hall, Irmo town council


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