Safford Auditorium

REVEREND MARY A. SAFFORD TELLS STORY OF HOW
THE IDEA FOR THE SAFFORD MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM ORIGINATED


 

Says Her Debt of Gratitude to Her Parents and The Old Pioneer

Prompted a Tangible Expression



Mary Safford

Erect, in spite of her physical frailness, head lifted and her kind, sympathetic eyes trailing into visions beyond the four walls of the room she had dedicated a a perpetual memorial to a caravan which had passed but was not forgotten, Rev. May A. Safford told of how the idea of the Safford Memorial Auditorium originated.

 

Not being able to give the entire address herself, she turned to her aide and companion, Dr. Adelle Fuchs, who delivered it, and in its main essence is as follows:

 

When we are young, we do not prize our home town so much. Perhaps it is well, that it is so, for it promotes the going forth into the great world and prevents stagnation.

 

 As our years increase, we grow wiser, we come to realize the great influence of heredity and environment. As a consequence, the mother and the father in the home where we were reared, the friends and acquaintances in the town where we spent our youth, loom large on our horizon. We come to feel a deep debt of gratitude to the parents who sacrificed so much for us, the friends with whom we mingled in the days when impressions were deep and lasting. We begin to wish that we could express that gratitude.

 

Thus it came about that as soon as I felt that I had anything to give I made a provision in my will, for the dear old town of Hamilton, where I spent so many happy days and formed lifelong friendships. As my earnings increased and my years became more than three score and ten, I decided that I would have the joy of paying this tribute of gratitude during my own lifetime. So I consulted with old friends in Hamilton and considered many plans. Wishing the aid of those most fully acquainted with the present needs of the city and active in all good work I asked the Kiwanis and Poetry Club each, to appoint a committee of three, with me as an advisory member. This committee was duly appointed and I cannot too highly commend its wise and harmonious working. Its members unity in telling me that their meetings have been a joy to them and collectively and individually, they have united with me in working for the result attained.

 

There was in my mind a vision of a community house, but Hamilton needed a new High School. It was suggested to me, that by paying for the auditorium, I could most effectually realize my vision of helping Hamilton with a memorial that would be a daily inspiration--not only to the teachers and pupils--but to all the citizens of this community.

 

It seemed all the more fitting to make this memorial a part of the school building, as my father and mother, my sister and two of my brothers and myself and several other Saffords had taught in this community. And so with your help I have realized the vision that has grown through the years, and rejoice with you today in the dedication of this fine building, which, I trust, will be a constant inspiration and every day help to all of you as well as to those who come after you.

 

From this building, may many go forth into the great world, eager to realize the high ideals which ever lure us onward and upward, and as their years increase, may they too, turn with loving thoughts to the old home town and resolve to contribute generously to its welfare, ever remembering that neither the size not the wealth of a town is the measure of its greatness, rather is it the men and the women whom it helps to develop. Nazareth in Galilee, Athens in Greece, Concord in Massachusetts were all small towns, but who shall measure the influence of a Jesus, a Plato and an Emerson?

Hamilton may never become a great commercial city, but it may become one of the most beautiful spots on earth. Its location is unsurpassed and through the combined efforts of those who go and those who stay and the persistent devotion to high ideals of civic worth and beauty, right here, there may some day stand a city of beautiful homes, that will command the interest of thousands and attract within its borders, citizens--who are not only citizens in name, but ideal citizens of this great Republic, to which we owe the freedom that makes life worth the living.

 

So, hold fast this vision, strive to attain it, believe in yourselves and your power to overcome.

 

Thus remembering how much we owe to the past, we should transmit to the future a legacy that they too, will cherish gratefully.

The closing and climax of the morning was the unveiling of the Memorial Tablet by Miss Dorothy Bristow, great-granddaughter of the late Louisa Hunt Safford, and niece of Miss Mary A. Safford. Miss Bristow, in behalf of her sister and cousin, expressed her appreciation for the part of the program she had been allowed. Unveiling the tablet, she read in clear, reverberating voice, the inscription of the tablet,

 

IN LOVING LOYALTY TO

THE MEMORY OF

LOUISA HUNT SAFFORD

AND OTHER PIONEER WOMEN OF

HANCOCK COUNTY WHO TOGETHER WITH

THEIR HUSBANDS AND BROTHERS THOUGHT

AND WORKED TO BUILD ITS HOMES

DEVELOP ITS RESOURCES AND EDUCATE

ITS YOUTH THIS AUDITORIUM IS

GIVEN TO THE CITY OF HAMILTON

BY

REVEREND MARY A. SAFFORD

FOR THE SERVICE OF THIS COMMUNITY

OCTOBER THE ELEVENTH, NINETEEN HUNDRED AND TWENTY-SEVEN

 

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MEMBERS OF THE MEMORIAL COMMITTEE

L. C. Dadant, President

Harriet Comer Hazen, Secretary

Estella Agnew  J. H. Crawford
Emily Cuerden W. M. Leroy

 

Just weeks after Miss Safford's visit here for the dedication of the Safford Memorial Auditorium the message of her death, October 25, 1927, at Orlando, Florida reached here. The body was sent here to the home of Rev. Eleanor E. Gordon, who conducted the funeral services, assisted by other ministers, from the Safford Memorial Auditorium on Sunday, October 30, 1927, 2 P.M. Interment in the Safford family lot in the Oakwood cemetery.

 

 

Hamilton City Hall / Visitor Information Center

1010 Broadway Street Hamilton, Illinois 62341
Telephone: 217.847.2936 Fax: 217.847.2936

 

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