The public library for the Town of Hiram is located at the corner of Main Street (Route 117) and Hancock Avenue. This building, of masonry and fine woodwork, was constructed in 1915, from a combination of private donations and town appropriations. A large gift by Mrs. Virginia Barker Jordan was made with the request that the library should be built as a memorial to all of the soldiers of Hiram. Dedicated on August 21, 1915, the new library included a magnificent fieldstone fireplace supporting an immense bronze plaque, In Memory of the Brave Sons of Hiram Who Have Defended Their Countrys Flag. The memorial also names nearly three hundred Hiram soldiers who served in conflicts from the War of the Revolution until just before the First World War. Prior to the construction of this building, the Hiram Public Library was housed in several private homes, depending upon who had been elected as librarian or trustees.
The original trustees of the Soldiers Memorial Library, Celia H. Sanborn and Henry W. Merrill (1859-1944), were instrumental in organizing fundraising and plans for this building. Mr. Merrill not only continued the work of the Library for many years; he was also the village blacksmith and made the elegant set of andirons that remain in use today in the fireplace.
Among memorabilia of the Library is a photograph of Llewellyn Andrew Wadsworth (1838-1921), who was a writer and historian, and was commonly referred to as Hirams Poet Laureate. He served in many town offices, as well as in the State Legislature in 1879. He was the great grandson of Revolutionary War General Peleg Wadsworth, and first cousin once-removed of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who spent summers in Hiram.
In recent decades, fund-raising, gifts, grants, town support and volunteer efforts have enabled the Soldiers Memorial Library to have many improvements including new plumbing and heating, expanded space and collections, computer systems for patron access and library services, and regularly-scheduled staffing. Visit your public library for its history and opportunities.