Old city hall damaged

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ironton’s old town hall is now fenced off for safety reasons after last Thursday’s thunderstorm caused damage to the Memorial Hall.

Memorial Hall is still owned by the city although it has been vacant since the city offices were moved to the Ironton City Center in 1996.

Last Thursday, the storm damaged a doorway.

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“The storm blew out or sucked out, I don’t know how it did it, the whole front entrance framing,” said Ironton Mayor John Elam. “All of it. I don’t know if there was a vortex created there or if it was high pressure versus low pressure. Or maybe the wood was compromised and it was just time for it to go.”

Elam said it has been secured against the curious. The building was in bad shape in the mid-1990s with a leaky roof, soggy floors and problems with the stairs.

Elam said he has contacted the E. L. Robinson engineering firm, the city code enforcement officer, the fire chief and city health commissioner to check out the building.

They decided the best thing would be to fence it off until city council decides what to do with it.

Elam said he would be passing out information to the Ironton City Council tonight.

“We are still in the assessment stage of this,” Elam said. “I look forward to their recommendation on how to proceed with this.”

Memorial Hall was built on Railroad Street in 1892 by Yost and Packard Architectural firm of Columbus to honor Civil War veterans. The inscription honoring the Great Army of the Republic, the Women’s Relief Corps, American Expeditionary Forces and the Spanish-American War soldiers still hangs over the arched doorway.

The building has taken its share of damage over the decades. In 1905, it was partially destroyed by fire and only the tower and the stone archway remain from the original structure.

It also bears marks from the floods of 1913 and 1933 that rolled through downtown Ironton before the floodwall was built.