Aaron Hall was born in Otsego County on March 9, 1830 to Jacob and Eliza Woodburn Hall. In June of that year, his family came to Chautauqua County to live in a log cabin in the Town of Charlotte built by Aaron Hall’s grandfather, David Woodburn. Hall was raised in the area and at the age of 24, he married Martha E. Parkhurst of Chautauqua. In 1855 he and his wife moved to Westfield and took up work as a builder.
While Hall was considered an able builder, it was his skill as an architect that would help steer him through the remainder of his life. He first gained notoriety while living in Westfield, where he designed several homes and buildings, including the Westfield Presbyterian Church. When this was destroyed by fire, he planned and rebuilt the church, which still stands today.
In 1860 Hall came to Jamestown and was soon recognized far and near as an architect of unusual talent and ability. His most famous and well-known work is Governor Reuben Fenton’s mansion, which was built in 1863 and occupied by Fenton and his family up to the time of his death in 1884. Today it still stands, serving as a museum and the home of the Fenton Historical Society.
Hall also was responsible for many of the downtown buildings and landmarks that were built during Jamestown’s boom years during the late 19th and early 20th century. His work included the original City Hall building, the Sherman house, the Prendergast building, the New Gifford building, the Wellman buildings several local churches, along with many notable mansions and residences that still stand today. He also did considerable architectural work in Randolph, Olean and Warren, Pa.
In addition to work as an architect, Hall held the office of Ellicott Highway Commissioner for 12 years and in 1882 and 1883 he was a Jamestown village board member. He was also long-time Mason.
Hall died in April 4, 1911 at the age of 81. More about Aaron Hall
Bicentennial Biographies is a not-for-profit radio project designed to raise awareness and increase interest in local history. It is brought to you as a public service by the Chautauqua County Historical Society throughout 2011 to celebrate the county’s 200th birthday. To learn more, visit www.McClurgMuseum.org or contact your local historical society.