Marshall’s Memorial City Hall Reopened

The construction two doors down from the federal courthouse is now (mostly) complete. MCH reopened Saturday with its first concert, with Gary P. Nunn in two weeks.

Memorial City Hall was originally built in 1927 as a memorial to Harrison County soldiers who died in World War I. A plaque was added in the 1940’s with the names of Harrison County residents who died in World War II.

It was actually the second city hall on the site, after the first one – which copied more of the detail of the then-county courthouse across the square – burned. It housed city offices, including administration, police, fire, city courts and municipal auditorium for 67 years. The auditorium was the most important performance venue in Harrison County for over 50 years, hosting local productions like the Lions Loonies, school programs and dance recitals.

City Hall was where I had my first brush with the law when I was five or six – I got separated from my parents after a Lions Loonies show and was taken downstairs and perched on the counter of the police station. As this was before I had glasses I don’t remember anything but the counter, which had to have been oh, six or seven feet tall. (Yes, they found me).

The renovated building has a magnificent display on local veterans in the basement, “Service & Sacrifice”, but the remainder of the building is centered on its role as a downtown performance venue.

What I discovered Saturday night is that it is the perfect place to visit with friends and trade the latest gossip. It’s even better than a football game (because it’s indoors and there’s a bar).

And best of all, it doesn’t look like this anymore.

The Memorial City Hall stage in 2015

But if you’re in my offices and see metal benches around the office, that’s where they came from – the old auditorium chair seating was repurposed into benches and sold to raise money for the project. (Pro tip: don’t sit in them. They remain as uncomfortable in my office as they were in the auditorium when I was growing up. But they handle briefcases just fine!)