Crews pull roof from Memorial building

Published 10:12 am Tuesday, January 13, 2009

They were raising the roof, quite literally, at the old Memorial Hall Monday.

Workers with Solid Rock Construction Company of West Portsmouth removed a 38-foot by 28-foot section of roof from the front of the building. The section removed weighed 13,000 pounds.

The roof replacement is one of several steps aimed at saving one of the city’s landmarks and probably one of the oldest government buildings in Ironton.

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National City Bank employees have donated to the cause as well as members of American Legion posts throughout the state.

The hall that has had many uses since it was built in 1892 has been the focus of an impassioned debate about its viability as a structure for downtown Ironton.

Originally, it was to be used as a hall for the use of Union soldiers, their widows and orphans, would have a library and be a place for “relics of a patriotic nature,” according to the original deed.

If it would no longer be used by a veteran’s organization, it would be turned over to the city.

For many years it was used as the site of the public library and then became the city municipal building, until 1998 when the safety of the structure was questioned.

It was condemned by the city in 2007 amid reports of lead paint, mold, sagging floors and a roof that no longer connected to the walls at some points.

City Council has said that estimates to save the structure range from $1.5 million to $7 million.

However, recently, the American Legion Post 433 has stepped forward with fund-raising initiatives, including traffic stop solicitations.

They have publicly sought the support of other local veterans groups, including American Legion Post 590, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, AMVETS and the Purple Heart Society.