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Historical Houses

Hello and welcome to the local history blog of the New City Library. This is my first blog on our new web page and as introduction; I am Sally Pellegrini overseer of a special collection of local history materials called the Rockland Room. You will see reference to the collection name when searching our catalog or when visiting the library. It is my job to manage more than 4,500 print materials, 15 drawers of vertical files, a large collection of local family names and genealogy, the Budke collection, online genealogy subscription services and maps. This collection has information focusing on Rockland County but also has materials on counties following the Hudson River starting with New York City and neighboring counties in northern New Jersey. I am also proud that we are in partnership with the Genealogy Society of Rockland County. This group stores their files in the room and meets the 4th Thursday of the month in the library.[email protected].

The Rockland Room collection is open to researchers during library hours. To reach me, call 845-634-4997 ext 139 or

Each month I will feature one piece of a unique collection of miniature historic houses or sites created by graphic artist John Rossi of Congers. Mr. Rossi, after retirement, began to draw historical houses of Congers that existed or remain standing today. He used pen and ink and then applied the design to a piece of free standing wood. It is his contribution to the community to maintain its past. This passion began eight years ago. Today, he has created more than 400 miniatures from Rockland and Orange County sites.

I will supply the information I have and invite the reader to add his knowledge to enhance the history.

The first miniature is the site of the first New City Library. The time is April 1936; the place is New City, New York. An article in the local Rockland County Journal News invited all who were "interested in books" and wished to serve on a library committee to attend a meeting held at the New City Elementary School. It further related that under a plan devised to extend library service to rural communities, the Library Extension Division of the State Education Department would pay a person to care for the library under the direction of a local committee. Also, professional advice would be available with $100 of state aid and matching committee funds.

Thus the New City Library Association was started. The five committee members were: Mrs. C.J. Feeley, Mrs. H.G. Herrlien, Mrs. J.B. Karrell, Mrs. F. Noyes and Mrs. T.W. Youmans. Mrs. Youmans was the first president and it was decided to name this new venture the New City Free Library, as it remains today.

For the next sixteen years, the library remained in the building shown here. On Friday, June 19, 1936, the first public program offered was a tea with music. Mary Mowbray Clarke was guest speaker. Ms. Clarke was well-known for her design of the famed Dutch Gardens in New City.

Other "firsts" include the first donated book, North to the Orient by Anne Morrow Lindbergh; the first tag sale raised $44 from the school’s students and the largest donation of $250 that came from Archer Huntington.

Additional reading may be found in "The History of the New City Library" prepared by Patricia True and located in the Rockland Room.

Now…. Anyone reading this have comments? Did anyone attend this elementary school? Did your parents attend? Any interesting memories? Names are not necessary unless you want someone to respond.



That’s it for now. I hope you will visit my blog again!










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