Press Release 2013

For Immediate Release                                                                                                             June 21, 2013
The Historical Society of Woodstock and the Woodstock Library
Contact: Richard Heppner, 845-679-2143

Celebrating 100 Years of Woodstock Library History

 In 1913, ten years after his vision for an art colony found reality in Woodstock, Ralph Whitehead turned that same vision towards the future of Woodstock as a community. As related by Frances Rogers in her wonderful history of the Woodstock Library, The Story of a Small Town Library, "Whitehead now began to think about and plan a civic program of a very different nature."  A project, as Rogers quotes Whitehead, that "the villagers and the rest of us, the outsiders, could share."

So it was that Whitehead assembled those individuals he thought essential to developing his plans for what would become the Woodstock Club. Making their way to White Pines in the summer of 1913 were the artist Carl Lindin and his wife Louise, Woodstocks doctor, Mortimer Downer and Lillian Downer, and the writer Walter Weyl and his wife Bertha. It was a meeting that began inauspiscially, however, as Weyl, owner of one of the few cars in Woodstock at the time (according to Rogers, a "high, speedy-looking 'touring car' that had a top that could be rolled back and side curtains with isinglass windows to be snapped on when it rained") arrived, with the Lindins in the back seat, nursing an "overheated radiator spouting steam."

The result of that Byrdcliffe meeting, 100 years ago this summer, would lead to the formation of the Woodstock Club and, ultimately, the Woodstock Library and other civic-related organizations. While much work lay ahead as efforts to build the Club were intensified, including the formation of a library committee headed by Margaret Carlson and joined by Marion Eames (future wife of Martin Comeau), Birge Harrison and John Carlson, the Woodstock Library was moving towards its future.

That future, now an integral part of Woodstock history, will be celebrated beginning this Friday evening, June 28, as the Historical Society of Woodstock in collaboration with the Woodstock Library unveils its summer exhibit, Woodstock Builds a Library: Past, Present and Future 1913-2013 with an opening night reception. Featuring reflections on a century of service by the Woodstock Library, the exhibit offers a unique look back at the librarians who served, the expansion of the library, chidrens programming (even Peter the carosel horse will make an appearence) and Woodstocks venerable rite of summer, the Library Fair.

The Friday evening reception will feature the music of jazz guitarist and vocalist Perry Beekman and runs from 7:00 pm till 9:00 pm at the Historical Society of Woodstock on lower Comeau Drive. Visitors are urged to park in the lower Comeau parking lot and walk the newly rennovated trail (thanks to the Comeau Trails Committee) to the Historical Society. In addition to the Friday evening opening, the exhibit will be open to the public throughout the summer on Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. As always, all events are free of charge. For more information on the the Historical Society of Woodstock and on how to become a member, go to Historical Society events are also available on Facebook at Historical Woodstock.

Celebrate Woodstocks most enduring instituion, the Woodstock Library, by joining your fellow Woodstockers this Friday evening and throughout the summer at the Historical Society of Woodstock.

Richard Heppner

Woodstock Town Historian