The Skene Memorial Library serves the village of Fleischmanns, New York, and its surrounding communities. The building's graceful architecture, stone fireplace, pillared entrance, and ornate windows welcome visitors to one of the few libraries in the Catskill region built specifically for use as a library. The commitment to public education and knowledge shared by its founders is carried on to this day by the library's dedicated director and board of trustees. In 2001, the library celebrated its 100th anniversary and proud history.
Skene Memorial Library remains central to community life, serving also as a meeting place for the town government and the Village Clerk's Office of Fleischmanns. Inside, patrons can frequently be found reading the local newspapers and discussing current town events.
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.
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