Joan V. Cusimano Lindquist
The Town Hall was well known in Brooklyn Square, and many have fond memories of this restaurant that was located at 6 South Main Street. In addition to being a great place to dine, it also featured dancing and entertainment, making it a popular night club spot. It was originally owned by Fred Bartoldson, and Eva, Fred’s wife, did some of the cooking, which included American and Swedish food, as well as a few specialties.
Friday and Saturday nights were highlighted by a variety of shows and musical entertainment. One of the talented musicians who entertained at the Town Hall and practically became a legend in her own time was Dorothy Brooks, a name and personality known to many even to this day. Dorothy played the piano and often accompanied acts and performers on stage. In addition to her performances at the Town Hall, Dorothy also worked at WJTN for forty years, and in the 1970s, she even had her own radio show. Known for her sprightly step and her signature hats, Dorothy Brooks was active all of her life and lived to be ninety-seven!
The Town Hall was where Jim Beatty got his great start to his clarinet interpretations. He brought in overflow crowds to the restaurant, and, to many, Jim’s musicianship will always be memorable. Jim eventually moved to California where he continued his playing, but from time to time he would return to Jamestown and join some former band members for old time’s sake and for love of making music.
Like many businesses in Jamestown, the Town Hall also sponsored its own baseball team.
After many years in business, the Bartoldsons sold their establishment to someone named Benson who then, in turn, sold the place to Norm Robinson, former Third Street service station owner. The Town Hall lost some of its popularity as the Square faced fewer and fewer businesses staying in their long-time locations and eventually fell to urban renewal. But, in my recollection, in the early to mid-1960s, a small group of talented musicians still played jazz and ragtime for Friday and Saturday night clientele—often exiting the restaurant as they continued playing, making their way through the Square with music lovers and listeners in tow.
My thanks for some information and photos for this article go to Roland Swanson and Virginia Destro.