Ahira Hall Memorial Library
Early History
(Written and pictorial contributions are welcome)

The Ahira Hall Memorial Library, located at 37 West Main Street in Brocton, New York was named for Ahira Hall who settled in Brocton, NY after his service in the War of 1812. In 1902, Ralph Ahira Hall (grandson) and Garret E. Ryckman (Ralph’s brother-in-law) decided to erect the current building in the village of Brocton to be used as a free library. As many as 65 residents and town officials met and requested that the library be presented to the town. This group pledged their support for maintenance and adequate appropriations to keep the library thriving. This pledge of support was made official by a special election in 1903. In this election, the town accepted the offer from Mr. Hall. for the building and Mr. Ryckman for the land which was adjacent to his home. The election also guaranteed an annual appropriation of funds for the library and a library board of seven trustees.

Mr. Hall initially thought that $5000 would provide enough for the building but the lowest architect’s bid was slightly over $7000. The library structure was designed by Captain E. A. Curtis, a Fredonia, NY architect and in the end the bills amounted to about $10,000. Sometime in mid-June of 1905 the property was formally turned over to the library board of trustees to be used for the benefit of the town.

Information and pictures for this web page were taken from The History of Chautauqua County, New York, and It’s People, Volume I, and II., and The Fredonia Censor, June, 1921

The mission of the Ahira Hall Memorial Library is to provide programming, resources and materials that enhance the educational, cultural and recreational   life of the Brocton-Portland Community. (adopted 2012)