Skene Memorial Library – A Proud History

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.

Skene Library in Pictures

Skene Library History in Pictures

images courtesy of the Greater Fleischmanns Museum of Memories


Past Events: Film Screening – October 10th, 2PM

Skene Memorial Library
is pleased to host a film screening of
Eva Zelig’s documentary film

An Unknown Country
Sat., Oct. 10 at 2pm

An Unknown Country tells the story of European Jews who escaped Nazi persecution to find refuge in an unlikely destination: Ecuador, a South American country barely known at the time. The film follows the exiles’ perilous escape and difficult adjustment as they remade their lives in what was for them an exotic, unfamiliar land.  For more info please visit her website

Past Events: Skene Library Presents Program on Health Insurance Choices for Seniors

On Saturday, September 26 at 2 PM, Skene Memorial Library in Fleischmanns will present a program on Health Insurance Choices for Seniors.   Presenting this important topic will be Donna Martino, from the Delaware County Office of the Aging.   With ‘Open Season’ approaching, all Medicare enrollees are faced with a mass of plans to choose from.  Ways to evaluate what works best for each individual will be discussed. The presentation will also be of benefit to those approaching Medicare eligibility and who are wondering how to navigate the broad spectrum of offerings.

There is no charge for this program.   For more information, call Skene Library at 845-254-4581.

Past Events: Movie at Skene – May 2nd- The Living History Tour of Clovesville Cemetery

The Historical Society of Middletown’s video of The Living History Tour of Clovesville Cemetery (done in 2013) will be shown at Skene Memorial Library in Fleischmanns at 2pm.  The film was made in the Clovesville Cemetery near Fleischmanns, and reenactors portray a number of the people buried there.  Admission is free.  For more information call Skene Library at 254-4581.

Past Events: Rails to the Catskills – a Tobe Carey video

Rails to the Catskills

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: