The majestic Union Hall came into being due to the hard work and planning of the Union Hall Corporation. It was completed in 1888. A few years later, the Town of Danforth bought the Corporation’s interests in the lower story of the building, and in 1906 the Masonic and Odd Fellow Lodges bought the Corporation’s interests in the upper story. The ownership remains the same today.
The Union Hall is at the heart of the Danforth community. Its excellent acoustics have served speakers, school plays, and speaking contests well. Behind the stage and covering all the walls and ceilings are the names of plays and their actors from many years. The Union Hall also hosted Garden Club exhibitions, demonstrations by pugilist John L. Sullivan and Paddy Ryan, and moving picture shows given by Victor Holtz, who later ran the projector at the Paramount Theater diagonally across the street. Mr. Holtz also wound and maintained the Seth Thomas clock in the tower.
After the U.S. entered World War I in April 1917, for two months Company I of the 103rd Infantry was stationed in Danforth for the purpose of guarding railroad ridges on the Maine Central between Vanceboro and Mattawamkeag; for a time it was quartered in the Union Hall and in a local hardware store.
The basement of Union Hall has a dirt floor, but it was noted to have holding cells to keep those who needed tending until they could be transferred to a jail. In the granite wall on the front of the building on the right side is a geological marker noting Danforth’s altitude in relation to sea level.
Time and wear took its toll on the building, but a grant awarded to the Town of Danforth has enabled the main floor and balcony area to be refurbished, with the new work reflecting the time period during which it was originally built. The original clock face remains, but its operation has been modernized.
Caption written by Lorraine Springer