The building at the corner of Beatty and Main streets in downtown Hiram has seen a lot of faces in the past 105 years.
The Bank of Hiram opened there in 1907 and was the first business to open in downtown Hiram in the new building after the town burned three years earlier. It had 250 shares of stock, most of which were purchased by local residents, and the bank’s charter was granted in March 1907, a month before it officially opened.
The bank grew over the next 10 years and peaked in 1918 with $250,000 in developed resources. In 1921, the bank contracted with Bankers Trust and became one of the Manly Banks.
Five years later the Manly Banks failed, and the Bank of Hiram was liquidated. A liquidating agent was appointed in 1927, and within a year, a final payment was made to all Bank of Hiram depositors.
The building wasn’t vacant for long, though. In 1928, Carl Norris opened a drugstore, which he operated until 1935.
Kathy Bookout, who runs Main Street Antiques Market of Hiram and wrote a book on the history of Hiram, said she has a thermometer hanging in her store from the drugstore.
“No one had ever heard of the Carl Norris Drug Store,” she said of customers who had seen the thermometer in her business.
But one day a man stopped by and told Bookout he was Carl Norris’ nephew.
“He told me all about when his uncle ran it,” Bookout said. “It was pretty neat. I was really glad. The Lord gives you what he wants you to have, and it comes from all different places.”
After the drugstore closed, John Shipp opened a grocery store in the building, which was in operation until 1975. When it closed, the building remained vacant until it was renovated in 2003 by Lamar Fowler and Michael Hewitt.
“During the renovation work, they would find small old artifacts and trinkets and bring them to me since they knew that I was working on compiling and displaying Hiram’s history,” Bookout wrote in her book. “One day, they brought me a wooden spinning top they had found in the floor of the back of the bank building. I was thrilled with this find.”
When the building reopened it housed several restaurants—first Main Street Tavern and Grill, then McFarland’s Irish Pub and finally The Olive Tree, which remains in operation.