Sometime around 1894, summer resident Mrs. Alexander Skene first proposed the idea of the creation of a Library for Griffin Corners. (As known physician Dr. Alexander Skene had a summer home east of Griffin Corners, and enjoyed their time in the Catskills immensely. It took several years, but plans progressed, and a Board for a Library Association (one type of Library then quite popular in New York State–not municipally -President. Other prominent citizens such as DeWitt Griffin, Mrs. T. C. Banker, and Mrs. George H. Lasher were on the board. Plans progressed slowly.
In July 1900, Dr. Skene died, but Mrs. Skene continued to pursue the goal of creating a library, now to be named in his memory. Funds were raised, including a $5,000 donation from famed industrialist Andrew Carnegie. (Carnegie endowed many libraries all over the country, but this was special to him–he and Alexander Skene had been boyhood friends.)
The cornerstone for the building was laid in November 1901, and Griffin Corners finally had its library. Skene Memorial Library is unusual for it is one of the few area libraries built AS a library. As people and conditions changed, the Association Library structure no longer was working here, and in 1930 the building was turned over to the Village of Fleischmanns, and Skene became a Municipal Library.
In 2001, in honor of its centennial, Skene Library was placed on both the New York State and the National Register of Historic Places. A special Postal Cancellation was held to observe the centennial.
images courtesy of the Greater Fleischmanns Museum of Memories
The showing of Tobe Carey’s new film, Rails to the Catskills, brought a capacity crowd to Skene on Saturday June 21. This film had received its premiere just a few weeks ago, and folks were eager to see it. Afterwards, Tobe spoke about the film, and took questions from the audience. He had copies for sale, and VERY GENEROUSLY donated a portion of his sales to Skene. He also donated a copy to Skene, so it is available for patrons to check out. This is a terrific addition to Skene’s extensive Catskills History collection.
Click here to see a YouTube trailer of the film:
Headwaters History Days 2014
Skene Library participated in the program
Three towns, 15 Historic Sites
Skene Memorial Library participated in Headwaters History Days, held on Saturday June 7 & Sunday June 8 in the towns of Middletown, Roxbury, and Andes. Fifteen historic sites and organizations are joining to create an event highlighting our area’s rich history. Full information can be found on the website http://www.headwatershistorydays.org/.
On May 24th Skene participated in the
annual Fleischmanns Memorial Day Street Fair.
Many, many visitors came to support the Library and purchased books, plants and attic treasures. Many thanks to our volunteers who organized the sale and donated their time to make it a great success.
Stop by the Skene porch for our ongoing sale of great books.
Past Events at Skene Memorial Library
Book Signing of her light-hearted memoir and a slideshow of family photos taken in Fleischmanns By Fleischmanns Native
Marilyn Mayes Kaltenborn
An Unconventional Childhood:
Growing Up in the Catskill Mountains During the 1950s and 1960s
The book is available at the Fleischmanns Museum,
Amazon (paperback and Kindle)
Barnes and Noble (Nook)