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Cragsmoor Free Library is a non-profit 501(c)(3) Corporation and a member library in the Ramapo Catskill Library System (RCLS).

email: library@cragsmoorfreelibrary.info

Director: Nancy Krum 845-647-4611


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crg_tree      The library owns the Post office property and the two large oaks had to come down here are the pics and movies click here

Cragsmoor Free Library
by Hattie Grifo and Mary Ann Maurer 




photo by Pat Peters 2011

From the August 14, 1903, Cragsmoor Journal: “Latest books can be had by applying to Miss Chipman, librarian of the Cragsmoor Library Casino. Hours 2-3 p.m. daily, except Sunday.” Two libraries coexisted for many years, one at the (Pines) Casino and another housed in various locations. By 1913, 360 volumes were available, collected and catalogued by Mrs. Martin and housed at her home. This collection then moved into the Community Room of the Federated Church and was combined with the books from the Sunday School. In July 1913, a library committee composed of winter and summer residents created the Cragsmoor Free Library. On August 19, 1914, an eponymous Association was formed and by September 1, Mrs. Julia Inness was president, with Misses Von Eltz, Keir, Buxton and Feary completing the board. Miss Lisbeth (Libby) Wright became librarian, followed in 1916 by Miss Pfister. In December 1915, the New York State Education Department granted the library a provisional charter.

By the 1920s, permanent quarters were needed. The Dellenbaughs donated land for the purpose

in October 1921. (Small parcels were added by John Kindberg in 1945 and Kenneth and Alice Hasbrouck in 1981.) Mr. Dellenbaugh submitted his plans, envisioned as a “well organized library for both winter and summer residents,” to the Board of Trustees on July 22, 1922, with ground­breaking authorized on July 28. The cornerstone was laid on August 27, 1923. The Mountain Echo of July 9, 1928, recalled the dedication ceremony with Dr. William Northrup presiding and Mr. Dellenbaugh placing the stone. “The box under the cornerstone contains silver coins, a list of donors, photographs of the three Cragsmoor churches, its artists and of the many cottages, newspapers of the time, and the names of the trustees and officers.”

Completing the building

According to library minutes, the foundation cost $1,120; minutes of July 24, 1924, record that $4,000 more was needed to complete the building. On July 9, 1925, Mr. Dellenbaugh reported that the building was complete (but more money needed), and it opened for business that summer. Mrs. Mary Goldsmith Sarine, sister of Bert Goldsmith, the library’s builder, became the first librarian in the new building. As reported by her granddaughter, she was an avid reader and active in the campaign to build the library.

The bookcases and furnishings have plaques, many of them memorial gifts, with names of donors. In 1926, following the death of her husband, Mrs. Julia Inness commissioned the balcony in his memory. Electricity was added in 1939 for $80. A fund in memory of former librarian Letty Pfister afforded the addition of a small office space and bathroom in 1968. In 1966, a memorial fund was started in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Leland DeLangley, which led in 1973 to insulating the ceiling with panels that retained the appearance of the original. The Cragsmoor Rod & Gun Club donated a bookcase and many books in memory of its members who had died.

The library thrived, open year round with circulation increasing. However, in the war years of the 1940s, with no winter librarian, costs for heating and lighting and lower attendance, the library closed for the winters. But things kept going well enough, and the Cragsmoor Free Library Association was granted its permanent charter from the NY State Education Department in 1949.

Summer story hours were begun in 1949 by Miss Ruth Garrigues, and nature walks for children were instituted in 1952 by Miss Marion McKinney. These continued for many years, with leaders, including Bill Howell and Pete and Marie Stanger, providing a lifetime of memories for many. In 1960, the library joined the Ramapo Catskill Library System, which provides advisory and other indispensable services to this day. A contract was signed with the Town of Wawarsing for funding to help defray the costs of serving the community. A heating system was added in 1961 and winter hours were restored. Year-round members of the board filled in as librarian until Velma Warner, the most faithful volunteer, became the paid year-round director in 1964. She has been followed by Dorothy Oakes, Ella Stedner, Eileen Kolaitis and Hattie Grifo. Mrs. Olivia McGregor was summer librarian from 1952 through 1964.

Fundraising past and present

With most of the library’s livelihood ours to earn, modes of fundraising have varied over the years. In 1913, Mrs. Martin took in boarders year round, at a rate of 50 cents per day or $2.00 per week, putting the proceeds into library funds. Mrs. Garritt provided meals for $ 1 a day. Candy sales, card parties, teas, concerts, hobby shows, food sales, book sales, costume parties, swim meets, and

art exhibits/sales have all been fundraisers. In 1958, the Friendship Calendar was introduced, followed by the Birdcage Party in 1959, then Library Day. Card parties have now resurfaced (ONZE!) and Cragsmoor Kitchens has put a literary spin on cooking for funds. The Annual Appeal and dues to the Cragsmoor Free Library Association remain important to the life of the library. Through all the years, the community has been its support.

The original wood exterior was later covered with Kelstone, a pink stucco, that remains.. The sturdy native chestnut columns still stand, the outdoor columns now restored and painted. Restoration revealed the original paint color that proclaims CRAGSMOOR FREE LIBRARY in bright red again. The magnificent fieldstone fireplace, built by Laurence Keir, still anchors the building; the scribe still writes his book in the stained-glass window, donated by Charles Lamb; and works of artists old and current adorn the walls. With recent upgrades of a new, well insulated roof, vented soffits, heating/cooling unit, indoor storm windows and other improvements, this unique treasure is set to meet the challenges of the future.




© Cragsmoorfreelibrary.info 2012