Hannibal’s Building Commission devoted a significant portion of its meeting to discussing City Hall’s crumbling next-door neighbor, the former Maryland Hotel at 314-18 Broadway. However, the other buildings they discussed included another landmark in the downtown area: the former Hannibal Community Theatre facility at 515 Lyon.
The majestic church, once home to a Catholic parish and then an American Legion hall, was condemned in 2009. The theater group used the church’s basement as its theater for several years and still owns the building, but left when the building was condemned. It has been using St. John Lutheran School’s gymnasium for a performance facility.
The Building Commission said Monday that no work has been done lately on the building, long an agenda item for the commission. Building Inspector Joey Burnham said the building is structurally sound, and it was removed from the commission’s pending demolition list last month. However, City Engineer Mark Rees and commission member Lou Barta, the Third Ward councilman, said the building still has brick issues and needs to be tuckpointed. They suggested putting up construction fencing around the old church to prevent falling brick from causing damage or injury, much as the city has around the former Maryland Hotel to mitigate the hazard of its falling stucco.
Commission members intimated that it could be politically dangerous to tear down the old church because of its historical significance. However, Mayor Roy Hark said the commission needs to get back in touch with the theater and urge further action or at least learn its wishes for the building.
The commission took no action Monday and will continue to monitor the theater for another month.