From a simple church building constructed in 1827 on Oswego Street in the Village of Hannibal, to a vibrant Community Center serving the area surrounding the town and village of Hannibal, the original Hannibal Baptist Church has grown and changed and remained relevant to the community.
On Nov. 16, the Hannibal Historical Society will host a celebration in honor of the building’s 40th anniversary as the Hannibal Community Center. There will be a display of artifacts and photos and a celebration banquet on that day. In addition, groups using the building will have their own promotions and celebrations during the week of Nov. 11-16.
Prior to 1978, the building had been condemned because of the compromised structure of the north wall. A group of citizens, including then County Legislator Roz Hastings, felt the building was too critical to the life of the community to be destroyed. Hastings and other concerned citizens formed the Hannibal Landmark Committee.
On Nov. 16, 1979 the building, which had undergone structural repairs and renovations, including creating an upstairs, was dedicated as the Hannibal Community Center.
The building now houses the Hannibal Free Library, Hannibal Historical Society, Elderberries (a senior citizens’ group), Senior Nutrition Site, Story Hour and as a meeting place for other groups. By many accounts, it is the most-used building in the community.
Whether sitting as a child at story hour, borrowing books from the library, or joining seniors for lunch in the building, the story of the Community Center is also a part of the life story of many Hannibal people. Those who used the building in any capacity are invited to join the celebration on Nov. 16.
For more information, check the Hannibal Historical Society’s Facebook page, call 315-564-7396, look for posters around town and future articles.