A City / Town Hall is the primary administrative building of a township or municipal government. City and town halls are usually associated with incorporated places in the U.S. Incorporated places are a legally defined entity and may be called city, borough, town, or village (depending on the state). There are over 19,000 incorporated places in the U.S. as per the Census Bureau's Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS). There are no incorporated places in Hawaii or Puerto Rico.
City and town halls mainly house the mayor and the city/town council, as well as assorted local government departments often including, but not limited to: the municipal court, the city clerk, the city manager, or the local police department (in smaller towns). Please note that this feature class does not include county, state, or federal level administration buildings.
Where can I find authoritative lists of City / Town Hall structures? There are no authoritative lists of City / Town Hall structures. The best way to confirm a City / Town Hall structure is to research the official website of the city, village, or township.
The closest thing to a national list may be a list of cities and townships on Wikipedia.com, however these only include a small portion of the country’s cities and townships. When using lists like these, it is important to verify each City / Town Hall with an authoritative source.
Sometimes a state government website or a search for a list of city halls for a specific state will yield a list of municipalities to review for city and town hall locations. Some states have municipal league organizations which may be informative. Many states now have on-line maps which may offer municipal locations.
Check out our Authoritative Sources List for more on the types of sources that are acceptable.
Most municipalities or townships have one central city or town hall building. If this is the case, place the point at the center of the building.
Some municipalities may have a municipal “campus” of buildings with administrative offices; others may have individual buildings that are geographically distributed throughout the city. It is important to note that we are not collecting the location of individual city departments. We are only collecting the primary city/town hall (i.e., typically the building that houses the city council and/or mayor’s office). Place the point at the center of this building.
Multiple incorporated places may share a building for their government functions. If so, add a point for each city/town hall. An example of this is the Rye Town Office which occupies space on the Third Floor of the Port Chester Village Hall in Port Chester, NY.
For more information on how to identify a City / Town Hall, check out the “Aerial Photo Interpretation Part 8: City/Town Halls” article in our November 2018 Newsletter.
Similar to courthouses, try to determine the name of the building when editing City / Town Hall structures. Common terminology for building names may include City Hall, Town Hall, Village Hall, Municipal Building, Municipal Center, and City Building among others. Contact information on government websites usually includes the building name with the address. Examples include Denver’s City and County Building which houses Denver’s city council, or Cedar Rapids’ City Hall which houses the city manager:
Our Name and Address Formatting Guide has a few additional examples of how to properly format a name for this structure type.