Don’t even try to invade North Hampton

If you plan on invading a small, New England town anytime soon (and who isn’t?), I suggest that you avoid targeting North Hampton, Massachusetts.

I was in North Hampton recently for a performance with The Moth. In the center of town, at the top of a hill, is City Hall, complete with crenelated towers and arrow slits.


Lest you think this was originally a fort of some kind, think again.

From North Hampton’s historical society:

Northampton's City Hall, built in 1850, has survived despite numerous assaults on its very existence. William Fenno Pratt, who designed many buildings on Main Street, conceived of it as a novelty. It combines elements of the then new revival styles of Gothic, Tudor and the trademark Norman towers replete with arrow slits. Being a novelty it was bound to attract both ardent admirers as well as detractors. One of the most powerful detractors was Mayor Harry E. Bicknell, who dubbed it a building with "flip-flops and flop-doodles." He, along with many others in 1923, wanted it torn down and replaced. Although aesthetic debate raged it was the fiscally conservative voters of Northampton who saved the building, opting to remodel it in order to save money.

“Flip-flops and flop-doodles."

Old Mayor Bicknell certainly had a way with words.