RYE, N.Y. – The city of Rye will rededicate its “new” City Hall to mark 50 years since the original dedication on Dec. 5, 1964.
Much of the building hasn’t been updated since that day, such as the council chambers that still have the original chairs and floor. So the city is offering name dedications for donations of $250 or more.
The first 120 benefactors will have their names placed on the 120 chairs in the council chambers. Donors of $1,000 or more also will have their names put on a commemorative plaque displayed in City Hall.
The construction of “new” City Hall was paid for by donations from the estate of former mayor John Motley Morehead III, who died in 1965.
“There is no way that we can ever match the size of the gift bestowed on Rye by Mayor Morehead,” current Mayor Joe Sack said.
“But, we can certainly do our part to continue his legacy of giving in this small but meaningful way. And what better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of City Hall than by giving the main public meeting room of the building a much needed facelift.”
Morehead served three terms as Rye's mayor from 1925-1930 before president Herbert Hoover appointed him as envoy and minister to Sweden, a position he held from 1930 to 1933.
After serving in World War I, Morehead moved from his native North Carolina to Rye to be closer to the main laboratory of his chemical company, Union Carbide Corp., according to the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame.
The company started with his father, James Turner Morehead, a chemist who helped create ferrochrome (an alloy of chromium and iron) for armor plating, just before the Spanish-American War, according to the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame website.
Morehead worked with his father and eventually inherited his fortune. He went on to give back to schools and hospitals in North Carolina. He donated $1 million for the his alma matter University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to build a planetarium, which opened in 1949, according to the college website.