The Hansen Branch Library in Hammond’s Hessville neighborhood checked out its last book in 2000, ending service to local bookworms going back more than 70 years. Now a local group aims to revive the building – vacant and boarded since it closed – as a community learning center.
Completed in 1931 just before the Great Depression hit Hammond, Hansen was one of three new branches designed by local architect L. Cosby Bernard. Bernard employed the steep roof angles and tall, multi-paned windows of the Tudor Revival-style for all three libraries, creating large, well-lit reading rooms with built-in wood shelving for nearly 7,000 books.
Residents and business owners dedicated to improving and beautifying the neighborhood founded Hessville Commerce & Community Creative, HC3 for short. The not-for-profit group plans to rehab the library as a venue for student tutoring, adult workforce development, and veterans’ services.
A grant from Indiana Landmarks’ Efroymson Family Endangered Places program will help pay for a conditions assessment and rehabilitation plan, the first step in making sure renovation respects the building’s historic character while making it accessible for everyone. HC3 is also using a grant from our Partners in Preservation program to nominate the building to the National Register of Historic Places.
To learn more about HC3, visit www.hc3hessville.org.
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