Every house has a story. However, a story like the one of the building at the end of Bialik St. , you won't find anywhere. A building telling the tale of a city.
Everything started in a hotel
In 1924, a hotel was erected in Tel Aviv called Hotel Sakura. The hotel, belonging to an Englishman named Abraham Sakura, stood tall on top of a hill overlooking the Mediterranean, from one side and from the other- the eastern outskirts of Tel Aviv. The hotels' architect, Moses Churner, designed a classic building with a curved balcony, rounded facade and winding stairways. A magical structure albeit out pf place in the Tel Aviv landscape, which was built to the enjoyment of the fortunate hotel patrons. Less than a year after its erection, instead of suited guests coming to visit the first Hebrew city, the only ones standing in the long, winding stairs were residents waiting for the municipal clerk to arrive
Old City Hall. Photography: Avraham Soskin. Levon Institute- Ha'Avoda archive
The 'Neighborhood Committee' of Tel Aviv was situated in a building at the end of Rothschild Blvd, water tanks placed on top, turned it into young Tel Aviv's water tower. The rate of municipal growth and the municipal services along with it, rendered city hall too small to contain all the clerks and new departments in the municipality. In 1924, Mayor Meir Dizengoff decided to build a new city hall for Tel Aviv. Yaffo's city hall, at the time, was situated in the grandiose Saraya Palace and Dizengoff was keen on erecting a building that would suit the neighboring developing city in size and reputation. Dizengoff fundraised, allocated real estate for the building (which in time will turn to the Hadassah hospital), examined building plans from renowned architects, until finally deciding to move city hall to a temporary residence until the completion of building of the new municipal building. The Sakura hotel was chosen to be the temporary residence for city halls' offices and in 1925, its clerks and departments occupied it, as well as the mayor himself in his spacious chamber. The chamber, carefully renovated, can be seen in Beit Ha'Ir.
The City Hall on Bialik Street
In 1925, the Jewish settlement was stricken by a financial crisis. Dizengoff then decided to abandon his eye-popping plans for the new building. In 1928, after a few late rent payments to Sakura, Dizengoff decided to purchase the hotel building from its owner and making it the permanent residence. Upon its purchase, Tel Aviv- Yaffo's logo, designed by Nahum Guttmann, was hung on the building's facade and remains there until today. For forty years City Hall resided at the A. Sakura building- Since 1925 and until it moved to the building in Malchey Israel square ( Rabin Square today), in 1965. Tel Aviv's veterans reminisce about the long line of residents that winded on the building's interior staircase trailing outside, the celebrations held at the buildings entrance and the speeches given from its curved balcony.
Bialik Street Photography: Avraham Soskin. Levon Institute- Ha'Avoda archive
From the Museum of Tel Aviv History- To City Hall of Tel Aviv- Yaffo
When the municipality left the old building to its contemporary and wide predecessor on Ibn Gvirol St, It was converted in to a museum for Tel Aviv history. The museum survived for only 20 years and in 2001 the Tel Aviv Archive was in the only one in the building. The Burroughs and Neighborhoods Dept. occupied the large, now empty, space.
The building remained in use of the municipality but its days of glory and beauty were taken, its balcony no longer the stand for speakers and speeches. In 2009, eve of the Tel Aviv Centennial celebrations, the crown returned to the top of the building on Bialik St. It was renovated from foundations to roof, mayor Dizengoff's chamber was reconstructed Also adding a new wing. The old building on Bialik St turned to "Beit Ha'Ir" (City's House) - Tel Avivian center, vibrant with life and urban culture. More than four decades after the municipality moved to Ibn Gvirol St, residents are celebrating again on Bialik Street square and at the foot of the old City Hall.