Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Muncie Sesquicentennial:1925 City Hall


The city of Muncie, Indiana, celebrates its sesquicentennial this year and the Drawings + Documents Archive is participating in an exhibit opening soon in Ball State University Libraries' Bracken Library. We will also devote much of the blog in the next few months to exploring the city's architectural heritage.

In 1874, Muncie built a brick structure for the city offices, such as mayor's office, city jail, jailer's residence, fireman's hall, courtroom, and city clerk's office. This building quickly proved inadequate after the explosive growth experienced during the area's gas boom. It was razed in 1924 for the building you see in these photographs. Above is a construction photograph of the 1925 Muncie City Hall that stood at 401 E. Jackson Street. It was designed by local architects Charles Houck and Smenner, whose firm was called Houck and Smenner. Other notable buildings by the firm include Tempel Beth-El (1922), Grace Maring Library (1929), McKinley Junior High School (1938), and the William H. Ball residence (ca. 1940).

Muncie City Hall was built in an Italian Renaissance Revival style with classical details. The facade was adorned with Greek Doric columns and broken pediments featuring urns. The building was made of light beige brick and trimmed in terra-cotta. The entrances, two-story pilasters, entablature, cornice, decorative urns, and corner eagles were all beige terra-cotta to match the brick.Total construction costs were $185,000.

While the exterior received few changes over the years, the interior experienced many damaging alterations in its lifetime. By the 1980s, city officials had found the historic building inadequate for their needs and the building was torn down in 1993.

Images: Muncie City Hall photographs, ca. 1925. DOC-87.010. Documentation Collection, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.

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