There are 8 sides to this story
Anthony P. Musso
Libraries are more than just places to find a best-selling book or a blockbuster movie.
They are workspaces and gathering places. Modern Hudson Valley libraries are also technology hubs.
And many offer a unique perspective on their community’s history through their physical spaces, including the Red Hook Library, built in 1865.
Several of these historic structures are already central to community life, but for one week each year, all are in the spotlight: National Library Week.
This year, it takes place from April 3 to 9.
Actress Molly Shannon is the honorary chair of National Library Week. “My mom was a librarian. She encouraged kids to read,” said Shannon, who released a new book, “Hello, Molly!”
“So the work of librarians and libraries has such a special place in my heart.”
This year’s theme examines how libraries serve to connect communities to books, resources, programs and, of course, each other.
Here’s a look at some historic libraries and what’s planned for National Library Week.
There are 8 sides to this story: Red Hook Library
Built in 1865 along what is now South Broadway (Route 9) in Red Hook as the residence of Allen and Anna Hendricks, this octagonal house remained in the family until 1935. Its design was influenced by the writings of the phrenologist Orson Squire Fowler, who popularized the unique structures.
About a decade earlier, Fowler had built his own octagonal house along Fowlerhouse Road in the town of Wappinger (opposite today’s Adams Fair Acre Farms).
The unique design was featured in an 1852 publication, “Farmer, Mechanic, and American Cabinet,” as well as an issue of the “American Phrenological Journal.”
The Red Hook Residence is a two-story Italian-style concrete structure. Hendricks and his wife raised four children in the home.
Allen was the son of prominent businessman Jeremiah Hendricks, who owned and operated numerous businesses throughout the city and owned a considerable amount of property.
During the 1850s, Allen Hendricks was the accountant for the family sawmill and later held the same position for the clan grist mill. Both plants were located along Saw Kill Creek, which was used to power operations.
An extremely driven person, in addition to his bookkeeping duties at the family mills, from 1861 to 1867, Hendricks also oversaw their freight business along the Hudson River. He later served as an accountant for First National Bank in Red Hook and also worked as an insurance agent.
“Allen Hendricks was known for his love of gardening, a passion he still indulged at the age of 93 when he was celebrated as ‘Red Hook’s Oldest Resident’ in a local newspaper,” said Emily Majer, Red Hook historian.
“Its famous sunken garden is immortalized in postcards of the time.”
The Hendricks family enjoyed life in their unique home through Anna’s death in 1920 and Allen Hendricks’ death in 1933, aged 93.
Two years after his death, the Red Hook Library Board—an entity created on June 15, 1898—purchased the octagonal house from the Hendricks’ heirs for $3,800. The building was reconfigured at an additional cost of $900 to accommodate its functions as the new community library.
The original charter for the Red Hook Library was signed by Melville Dewey and was granted by the State University of New York on June 27, 1898. On April 26, 1904, a permanent charter was granted, and in 1959 the library joined the Mid-Hudson Library System, which consists of more than 60 libraries in five counties.
At the inauguration of the new library on November 12, 1935, the Reverend Charles Champlin, president of the library association, greets visitors eager to see the changes made to the historic house. As reported in the “Red Hook Times”, a dedicated section of the “Rhinebeck Gazette”, the case was well followed.
Following a hurricane that swept through the area in 1950, the library was fitted with a new roof and 20 years later rooms located in the basement were refurbished to expand its activities. In 2011, an addition was built to the rear of the structure, and the basement was again renovated to serve as a children’s reading room.
In 2016, a renovation of the structure’s third level was made possible through grants, awards, and donations and resulted in the creation of an expanded community hall to accommodate programs, meetings, and study space. . The Community Hall officially opened to the public on October 14, 2016.
“Recent additions to the library include a Sunday program designed for teens and run by teens, a vocational program for teens and adults with developmental and/or cognitive disabilities, and free resident passes for attend performances at Bard College’s Fisher Center,” the library said. director Dawn Jardine.
“We are grateful for the grants we have received to make these projects possible.”
Today, the building is a rare surviving example of the concrete octagonal form of home construction. It’s at 7444 South Broadway, Red Hook.
More historic libraries
Hyde Park Free Library: Built in 1927 as a tribute to her late husband James Roosevelt, Sara Roosevelt commissioned architect Henry Toombs to design this Georgian Revival building in the city of Hyde Park to serve as the James Roosevelt Memorial Library. Roosevelt’s son, Franklin D. Roosevelt, worked with Toombs on the project. The library was run and funded by the Roosevelt family until FDR’s death in 1945. It continues to serve the community today, having been purchased by Hyde Park City Council in 1947. Hyde Park Free Library, 2 Main St., Hyde Park, 845-229-7791—Tony Musso
Staatsburg Library: Staatsburg Library in the town of Hyde Park occupies a former chapel from 1858, the first place of worship built in the village. The congregation crossed the road when St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church was built in 1882. 70 Old Post Road, Staatsburg, 845-889-4683;staatsburglibrary.org. — Tony Musso
Adriance Memorial Library: According to to a history of the library compiled by Kira Thompson, the children of John P. and Mary Adriance honored their parents by donating $100,000 to build a library. In 1896, a site on Market St. was chosen and Charles Frederick Rose was hired to design the structure. The library opened to the public on October 18, 1898. It was expanded in 1922 and again in 2009, but the original Adriance footprint remains. 93 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, poklib.org/adriance-memorial-library/—Karen Croke
Events: “Long Lost Buildings of Poughkeepsie”, 6 April. Join historian Shannon Butler for a discussion of several interesting architectural creations that have served the city as schools, churches, hotels, businesses, and more, but are now lost to time. the Boardman Road branch. Mandatory registration at eventkeeper.com. Masks may be required depending on local sanitary conditions. For more information on this and other library events, go to poklib.org/your-library
Grinnell Library: In 1867, philanthropist Irving Grinnell and Reverend Henry Yates Satterlee, then assistant minister of Zion Church in the village of Wappingers Falls, established the community’s first circulating library and reading room in a building at the corner of Market Streets. and East Main. His tower is modeled after a Grinnell saw in St. Battenberg, Switzerland, and the way the second floor overlooks the first pays homage to the buildings he loved in Chester, England. In 1888 the Grinnell Library was chartered as an association library. 2642 East Main St., Wappingers Falls, 845-297-3428;grinnell-library.org. — Tony Musso
Events: “Through Our Eyes”: the work of a dozen local artists will be exhibited until April.
Anthony Musso writes the Dateline column which appears in the Sunday Poughkeepsie Journal.
Karen Croke contributed to this story.