Old City Hall
Emma Street, West Frankfort (Franklin County)
The West Frankfort City Council
voted to accept a bid of $10,429 from Dr. Ted VanAcker for the purchase of the
Old City Hall on July 13, 2004. Dr. VanAcker intends to renovate the building
and open it as a Franklin County branch of his Southern Illinois Dermatology
clinic. This successfully ended the long grass roots effort to save the building
from demolition, as was previously planned by the city.
Mayor Jack Woolard’s unexpected resignation in April 2004, the new mayor,
Bob Ellis, was persuaded to support preservation of this National Register
property. In an article in the Southern Illinoisan, Ellis noted that “the
will of the people became very apparent and we will preserve it.” The
previous mayor had favored the building’s demolition and replacement with
a parking lot for area businesses.
Landmarks Illinois assisted members of the
West Frankfort Civic Center Authority, which led the local campaign to
save the building. With the WCCA and local advocates, LI urged city
officials to consider the building’s re-use potential and ability to
contribute to the city’s tax base, as well as enhance the local business
district. The Old City Hall is the only building in West Frankfort listed
in the National Register of Historic Places.