Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Old Lorain City Hall & Police Station Part 6

On March 27, 1974 a small article appeared near the bottom of the front page of the Journal.

City Hall Will Fall By Friday
The old Lorain city hall building will be torn down either tomorrow or Friday, Mayor Joseph Zahorec said this morning.
The century-old onetime mansion is now being stripped of anything of value and will be prepared for demolition soon along with the old police station behind it.
A large bulldozer is now sitting to one side of the former city hall, ready to start work. Shrubbery has already been stripped from behind the building.
The weathered plaque with the words "Lorain City Hall" has been removed from the brick structure. It will be saved and displayed in the new city hall next door.
On Friday, March 29 the city hall sadly came tumbling down. Staff Writer Steve Sidlo prepared the following report for the Journal.
Shed a Tear for Old Lorain City Hall
The old Lorain city hall is no more.
At precisely 8:27 this morning, the steel snout of a huge bulldozer unceremoniously bit into a century of history and began to reduce the former mansion to a pile of rubble.
A crowd of city employees, officials and bystanders gathered to watch the destruction. Some, led by Service Director Elio Jacobozzi, threw rocks through remaining windows. There was an almost festive atmosphere.
"I think it's the end of an era," Mayor Joseph Zahorec said as he watched a wall crumble into a cloud of dust that drove back people standing near the building.
"It's sad. It has some good memories." Zahorec reflected. "But I also think this is the beginning of big things happening in Lorain."
Jerry Eschtruth of Eschtruth Wrecking drove the bulldozer that was used to demolish the city hall and the old police station behind it.
He said a structure like the former city hall could be ripped down in a half day if the rubble could be hauled away fast enough. "It's not too tough, really," he said. As city hall crumbled, some of its heritage could be seen. Remains of the many fireplaces it once had could be seen, a hint of what it was when it was built in 1870 by shipbuilder William Jones.
The mansion, one of the finest in the city at the time, was purchased in 1877 by John Stang, a prominent citizen, banker and landowner. Stang helped develop Lorain's harbor in those days.
In 1903 the house became City Hall, after officials purchased it in the wake of a fire which destroyed the building being used for office space where the Broadway Building stands today.
Through the years, 22 mayors have occupied offices in the old city hall, starting with F. J. King and ending with Zahorec.
The site of the old city hall and police station will now become a parking lot for the new city hall complex. Eschtruth said that rubble from the old buildings will be used to fill in the basements and provide a bed for the parking lot.
Even though I was living in Lorain at the time, I don't remember too much about all this. I was probably preoccupied with high school.
Looking back, I wish that the old City Hall could have been saved and used as a museum or something. The current City Hall looks dated and garish, too big for a city that is shrinking and going through some tough times. And with Lorain's city jail closed, all the horse thieves and hobos are being sent to the county jail.
Well, if they ever tear down the current Lorain City Hall, I'll be there with my camera. (I'll bring some rocks too.)

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