Veterans Memorial building condemned due to structural weakness, officials say

HANFORD, Calif. (KFSN) -- Veterans in Hanford are spending the holidays away from home -- that home being the Veterans Memorial Building.

City engineers condemned the structure last week after the roof showed signs of weakness.

The cornerstone for this building was laid in 1925. The American Legion has been inside ever since then. They say being away is like losing their home.

In the City of Hanford, not all buildings are seen as empty structures. History and emotions are deeply connected to one another.

"Really couldn't wait a month was my reaction," Geni Lefler of the American Legion Auxillary said.

For nearly a century the American Legion Post 3 and the Veterans Memorial Building have co-existed.

Now one must live on without the other.

Ames Landolt said, "As we come up on the 100-year centennial, it's kind of a shame we might not be able to use our building as the centerpiece of the celebration."

Last week structural engineers with the city found a deficiency in the roof. The entire building was condemned and dozens of events must be rescheduled.

James and Geni feel like they have lost a home.

James Landolt said, "It's here for all veterans and it has been the cornerstone of the City of Hanford."

Over the years, other organizations have also moved inside. Now, everyone is scrambling to find a new location.

Repairs could take months to more than a year. The American Legion is confident doors will reopen again but surely not in time for this Christmas.

"It was just very emotional for me to know that we don't have a home for a while, but it's okay I mean the family is still together and that's important," Lefler said.

The American Legion is in need of funds and venues to help hold holiday events. If you can help, reach them on their Facebook page.
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