With the exterior renovated in 2016, Bonney Castle's present interior configuration stems from a major renovation and restoration undertaken between 1970 and 1972 when the entire building was given over to the English Department. The interior was substantially rearranged, with the narrow and treacherous central staircase giving way to a more practical one, which necessitated, however, the closing of the third floor (which can be reached only by a narrow pull-down ladder).
When John Bonney built his inn in the early 1850s in order to accommodate the swelling population of Hiram brought about by the founding of the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (now Hiram College) in 1850, little could anyone have imagined the variety of uses it would be put to for a century and a half. Inn, boarding house, dormitory, faculty club, and eventually an office building for the Honors Program, Philosophy Department, and the English Department, Bonney Castle has undergone many transformations.
To the left of the entrance is the Cannon Sitting Room, named in memory of Lee and Irma Cannon who taught at Hiram from 1916 until their retirements in 1956 and 1954, respectively. The corner cupboard has been in Bonney Castle for as long as anyone can remember; many other furnishings in the room came from the estate of Edna and Glen (Class of 1919) Oswalt. This room is frequently used for social events and classes.
Bonney Castle's seminar room is named for Professor Neil Schrader, who taught from 1955 until his untimely death in 1961. Classes take place here daily, and it is regularly the site of department and college social activities, including paper presentations and the English Department annual picnic.
The second floor of Bonney Castle houses offices of English Department faculty and the John Samuel Kenyon (Class of 1898) Library, honoring the linguist who brought much attention to Hiram during his lifetime and since. The books in the library are available as reference works for English Department students and faculty. The library also regularly hosts department and college committee meetings.
The garden behind Bonney Castle is a mature garden that originated with a class of students led by John Shaw in the spring of 1974. Highlights in the garden are the Hester Crawford Herb Garden, which memorializes a notable plantswoman who lived for many years at Bunnydale Farm near Hiram and a bench in memory of Brainerd Stranahan, who taught from 1968 until his death in 1989. The northwest quadrant of the garden is in memory of George T. Morgan (Class of 1969). The garden is maintained by the Hiram Public Gardens.
The Old Inn Made New
by Don Muchow (Class of 1977)
there is an attic in
this old house,
the stairway that led to it
has been removed
its only access a small hideaway stepladder
they decided not to remodel it
with the rest of the house
the old iron radiators still remain
though the doors have been removed
from every room
there is no carpet up here and
the warped floor noisily creaks
downstairs all is smooth and quiet
save the dull humming of the fan
you can see the oak beams of the old frame
where the floor has been cut away
and two bannister posts stand at the top
of a non-existent stair
plywood lies across the old floorboards
to hide the gaping hole.
the windows still open
but the light switch turns on
and a huge metal monster stretches its arms
through all the doorways to ventilate the new
the space that's left is used for storage
its darkness is disturbed only by the
occasional headlights of a car
and its silence by the newly welcomed
family of squirrels.
by Beverly Faust (Class of 1993)
I love the quaint and cozy room
where Pammy studies Lit.
And often, when I visit,
long to pause awhile and sit. If I should steal inside one day
and softly take a chair,
I'm sure it would not take me long
to feel Jane Austen there.