Safford Memorial Auditorium



Stage and orchestra pit Hallway by stage
In 1986, due to lack of classroom space in the school, the back half was converted to classrooms.  Later, they were used as offices.  In the early 2000’S, Dr. Breckon, Superintendent of Schools, in speeches he made to various groups, mentioned that he hoped the Auditorium could someday be restored.  The classes of 1952 and 1953, at their 50th reunions, provided some seed money to get the project started.


In August of 2004, Dr. Steven Breckon, Superintendent of Hamilton Schools, began searching for a way to restore the auditorium to its’ original size. An article was placed in the newspaper asking for interested individuals to attend a meeting.  Although the group was small, they continued meeting and looking for ways to raise money. We became known as “The Safford Group”. Dr. Breckon suggested making an alumni list and asking for donations.  Ann Miller Titus came forward with an idea for a brochure depicting the history of the auditorium. She designed a brochure and printed mailing labels to send these brochures to Hamilton alumni.


In June of 2005, the partitions in the back of the auditorium were carefully removed by the school's Director of Maintenance, Steve Schlatter, and his able crew. Even though the weather was hot, the restoration continued.
  Blue paint and folding chairs show location of partition.
They painted the walls to match the front of the auditorium.  The ceiling and gold trim were also painted.  The old fluorescent lights were removed and 12 new lights, resembling the originals, were purchased by the Safford Group.

Old original light.
As donations came in, it was decided to replace the seats. Many of them were missing and the rest were old and uncomfortable.  Fundraisers, including the Stony Creek Bluegrass Band, the Keosippi Kickers, McNamara’s Band and a variety show featuring local talent were held.  Starting with First State Bank of Western Illinois, the project was greatly helped by local businesses contributing to the restoration.  In January of 2005, the Safford Group was awarded a $2,000 grant from the Keokuk Area Community Foundation.

Refreshment table at fundraiser.

McNamara's Band

Chuck & Anna Mae Miller, Dr. Steven Breckon

Orchestra pit removed in 1986.
In March of 2006, enough money had been raised to order the new seats.  The group decided on upholstered seats in a red fabric.  The old seats were removed and sold, and the floor was cleaned and repaired.  In July of 2006, the installers for American Seating arrived and installation of the new seats began.

New seats arrive.

Marking the floor.

Dale and Rita, Installers
A new clock was given in memory of former coach, Leroy Knoeppel. With the help of Becky Summers,  who volunteered her labor,  new shades for the windows were added to the auditorium. Euvon Mapes-Radel replaced the “H” on the stage curtain with an “S” in honor of the Safford family.  Engraved nameplates were placed on the arms of the new seats.

Memorial Tablet
Auditorium Given to the City of Hamilton October 11, 1927

New 'S' on stage curtain.

Shades done by Becky Summers

Nameplate on armrest of seat.

New lights
"Safford Now" "Safford Remaining Work"
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