Origin of Safford Auditorium Name

Mary Safford


Mary Safford was one of three prominent women, all educated in Hamilton, IL. Born on December 23, 1851, she was a daughter of Stephen and Louisa Hunt Safford. After graduation from the State University of Iowa, she became a teacher in Hamilton, and, later, a minister in the Unitarian Church. She served churches in Humboldt, Sioux city, and Des Moines, Iowa and traveled extensively. She was President of the Iowa Association of Unitarian Churches for eleven years, the Florida Equal Suffrage Association and was one of the orators at the Chicago World’s Fair. She had a desire to help others, and was successful in all her endeavors.

Later in life, when she “felt she had something to give”, she decided to pay tribute to her hometown, where she “spent many happy days, and formed lifelong friendships.” She had in mind a community house but realized Hamilton needed a new High School. She then sought the aid of friends and organizations Old Saffordwho could develop a plan that would show her gratitude to this community. It seemed fitting to her, since many in her family had been teachers in Hamilton, to build an auditorium that would be part of the new school.

This would be a Memorial, not only to teachers and students, but to all citizens of Hamilton. So, on October 11, 1927, the new auditorium was dedicated and given to the City of Hamilton. Mary Safford was present at the dedication, but died a short time later. She is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Hamilton, IL.