Archived Story

Time has been foe of old hall

Published 12:06pm Wednesday, February 20, 2013

All the talk about Memorial Hall and its future may have ultimately decided it.

The 120-year-old landmark and former city building continues to decay, seemingly collapsing in on itself more each day. Several groups and local government entities have tried to save the hall to no avail.

The Ironton City Council is again looking at the project but seems to be unclear as to where to go from here.

The problem is that the clock is ticking and every day that goes by its future looks more bleak.

It is clear that local governments don’t have the money to take on a project like restoring Memorial Hall and that doesn’t look to change in the near future.

The taxpayers certainly cannot afford to do so either.

The best solution would be for a nonprofit organization to rise to the challenge of restoring the hall, but that doesn’t look like it will happen.

So the council should move quickly on a demolition plan, but also consider options that would preserve the arch and even the tower, if feasible. The property would serve well as greenspace with parts of Memorial Hall incorporated into it.

It is disappointing that the structure likely cannot be saved but that is the reality brought on by time.

 

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  • mickakers

    swampcreature; As an interesting PS: My ancestors fought and died fighting with the 7th and 4th Virginia Infantry.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    swampcreature; My compliments on an excellent and insightful post. I can still hear those old wood floors creaking as you walked on them, bringing back memories of the past. It is disgraceful that the citizens of Ironton and Lawrence County have allowed this situation to develop. It demonstrates a lack of esteem and respect for the men who fought and died to preserve our union.

    (Report comment)

  • TribuneSubscriber

    I disagree, the Small mini-block is NOT TOO SMALL
    for a Community Park.

    Again I state for the record….

    About 3 years ago I attended 2 different public meetings concerning Memorial Hall.

    There was a ‘lot of talk’ and tears shed.
    But there was a man there who was asked by Mayor Blankenship and at a council meeting by council members,
    if he would draw or sketch his ideas and proposal for a community park.

    His ideas and drawings in pencil reflected a nice community style park that was small enough and yet
    big enough for people and families to reserve the park for
    Family Reunions… Pic nics etc.
    I know that the mayor took and hopefully kept those drawings of a nice looking and relatively inexpensive memorial park.

    In one picture he drew a memorial wall with the stone plaques in the tower and a larger granit stone with old memorial hall imposed on it.

    there were 3 or 4 flags behind this and there were 2 large community shelters and trees and a walkway all around the park and he talked of a large evergreen tree for the city’s living christmas tree.

    It was also suggested that this would be the starting point for all parades and get togethers in Ironton in the future.

    The Mayor and Council need to re-look into these pictures and i say GO FOR IT..!! a Memorial Hall Park..!!

    (Report comment)

  • swampcreature

    The fate of Memorial Hall was brought on by outright negligence, not time. The magnificent stone structure would be here 100 years from now if officials had ponied up the money for a new roof like they did to the tune of $200,000 for the Ro-Na. City also put a new roof on the Depot in hopes a restaurant might actually succeed at that location when historical evidence already stated otherwise.

    City already has plenty of ‘green space’. When you drive on U.S. 52, look down and see how many vacant lots already exist. A city needs life, and life in a city means structures with occupants. This city has already leveled a significant amount of its downtown business district and turned the space into seldom- used parking areas.

    The lot where Memorial Hall stands is too small for a park. Besides, the park at Etna Street is only blocks away.

    The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR or Union Army) fought and won the nation’s bloodiest war. Slavery existed less than a mile from the spot where Memorial Hall stands. Men from Lawrence County and Ironton answered the call to preserve our country, and that old stone structure was home to their meetings and reunions in the years following the war.

    It was the GAR that started the Ironton Memorial Day Parade to pay tribute to its fallen comrades. It’s heartbreaking knowing how our city allowed their greatest monument to vanish in an age where every city in the U.S. openly embraces its Civil War history.

    (Report comment)

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