Starting a New Chapter
In the winter of 2018, prospects looked bleak for the historic Hansen Library in Hammond’s Hessville neighborhood. Vacant since the library closed in 2000, the building’s interior slowly decayed, riddled with mold from years of water infiltration from a leaking roof. An interior wall had crumbled, causing the entire roof structure to shift.
Today, nearly 18 months later, the picture looks much different thanks to efforts of the Hessville Commerce & Community Collective, known locally as HC3. On Saturday, September 21, the group offers an in-progress look at the transformation underway at the former library, soon to be a community education center and veterans’ museum.
Outside, a new stabilized roof, enlarged entry ramp, fresh paint, and regraded lawn hint at the building’s turnaround. Plywood boards continue to cover the windows, but only to protect the original steel casement and leaded glass windows, set for restoration next year using a grant from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Lake Michigan Coastal Program.
Inside, workers worked carefully to preserve the circulation desk and original bookcases while remediating the mold. Other improvements include new HVAC, electric, plumbing, and drywall, and a second bathroom.
Local businesses—including the local Home Depot—construction contractors, and building trade unions’ apprentice programs, supported the project, donating labor, materials, and funds.
The September 21 open house takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit the HC3 Facebook page.
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