Following a fire in 1932 that destroyed a 19th century City Hall, architect Frank Lockwood designed a replacement for the same site. With the Depression affecting all construction projects during the period, the city received federal assistance through the Works Progress Administration. Completed in 1937, the City Hall included offices for city officials and an auditorium to accommodate large crowds for public programs, debutante balls and social gatherings. Stylistically, the building's exterior and Mayor's offices reflect Neo-Classical influences with highly decorative detailing in the grand entrance to the auditorium.
The death of songwriter and singer Hank Williams on Jan. 1, 1953, stunned his legion of devoted fans. On Sunday, Jan. 4, family members viewed the body at his mother's boarding house at 217 McDonough Street. The casket was then brought four blocks to the Municipal Auditorium. Some 2,750 mourners crowded inside for the service while another 20,000 stood vigil outside in the cold. Many of country music's headliners, including the reunited Drifting Cowboys, sang at the funeral. In 1991, Hank Williams, Jr., commissioned Texas sculptors Doug and Sandra McDonald to create the life-sized statue of his father that faces the auditorium.