The Town Hall of Swinemünde / Swinoujscie
The former town hall of Swinemünde (which is, according to Robert Burkhardt, the town's only historic civic building) was built in 1805/1806 . It is not located in the town centre at the market place, as is usual in other towns, but a little to one side between the former Lindenstraße street and the bulwark. For a considerable period it remained the town's sole civic authority building and therefore experienced many architectural and other changes.
During the many years of its existence it housed, for instance, the court, some prison cells (six used by the court, four used by the municipality), the municipal authorities, the Tax Office, the Customs Authority, the Military Watch, the Office of Weights and Measures, the savings bank and the Maritime Commission. The equipment of the fire brigade was also temporarily stored there. The prison yard was located on the northern side of the building. As was usual, it was enclosed by a high wall.
Two wooden staircases originally led into the building. They were later replaced by stone stairs, which were fitted with a cast-iron railing as protection and decoration. The town-hall clock was fitted in 1839 in the tower which was built for this particular purpose. The clock was donated by Isaak Schönlack, a banker from Berlin.
Since both the port and the square were insufficiently protected against flooding, the building was exposed to storm tides till far into the 19th century. Additionally, the area between the town hall and the bulwark had been less than attractive for a long time. After being used as a shipbuilding berth until 1796, the square was used more as a storage area than a representative civic area.
Being a comparatively young seaport for Stettin, Swinemünde had to establish other priorities. As the port's economic significance declined with the deepening and straightening of the Swina river, Swinemünde's importance as a seaside resort increased. In consequence, an attractive townscape became the order of the day. The area received its definitive landscaping when the monument to Wilhelm I, located in the vicinity of the town hall, was unveiled on 07.08.1895. The monument was a donation from Ms. Emilie Heyse, the wife of a consul, and required considerable contributions from public funds. However, these costs were more than offset when the donor left a generous sum to the town in her will.
After the Civil Engineering Office and the Land Registry moved to a separate building in summer 1930, the Usedom-Wollin Museum of Local History (founded in 1911) took up residence on the second floor of the town hall. The first floor accommodated the savings bank.

Since the building survived the terrible March 1945 air raid on Swinemünde - an insignificant town in military terms - relatively unscathed, it still houses the museum even today.
Photo: The upper floor of the museum is now dedicated to the history of Swinemünde (retired Director: Dr. Józef Plucinski). Some of the exhibits were donated by former inhabitants of Swinemünde.
R.R.