Partial demolition is well underway at Ironton, Ohio’s Memorial Hall. Constructed by the Yost and Packard firm of Columbus, Ohio in 1892 to honor Civil War veterans, the stone and brick building was dedicated to the Grand Army of the Republic, the Women’s Relief Corps, American Expeditionary Forces and the Spanish-American War soldiers.
The original deed from 1889 stated that the building could be used only for Union soldiers, their widows and orphans, and that it would contain a library and be a place for “relics of a patriotic nature.”
A fire in 1905 destroyed most of the building, leaving just the front stone facade and tower intact. It was soon rebuilt and used as a library and then as a city hall and jail. It closed in 1996 due to a deteriorating roof and flooring system after years of neglect. A sudden drop in barometric pressure caused a vortex to form inside the building in the summer of 2007 and compromised the doorway and other structural elements. A followup inspection noted that the inside was in “dire shape” due to extensive deterioration of the flooring system and the collapse of several parts of the structure.
Various proposals over the years called for the building to be restored as a site for a veterans’ home and an emergency operations center. The city pursued grants while various private organizations pursued their own fundraising efforts. In the end, a complete structural failure led to the decision to partially raze Memorial Hall for $127,000.
Work began in early June by Southern Ohio Salvage. When the work is complete, the remains of Memorial Hall will be incorporated into a new veterans park.