Philmont Library celebrates village history

PHILMONT–In celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the Village of Philmont, the village public library will be showcasing items pertaining village history throughout the month of July. Photographs, posters, books and other Philmont memorabilia contributed by past and current residents will be on display.

Tobi Farley, the director of the library for almost a year now, said that the director of the Community Day Committee, Monte Jennings, approached the board about doing something special. “He had just asked if we could just do some sort of history of Philmont because as the library, we generally keep historical items and pictures,” said Ms. Farley, and while the library has “a bit of a collection” she said many people in the community also have items of historical significance.

Mr. Jennings said that a similar presentation was done for the 100th anniversary of the village and that the committee decided to bring it back.

Damien Whittaker, the husband of a library board member and a local resident, volunteered to help put together and organize the exhibit in the building’s back room.

“He came in and has gone upstairs and cleaned out the whole room and found what we have, what’s available, and what can be hung and what can be showed,” said Ms. Farley.

Although when contacted for this story earlier this month they were in the early stages of designing the exhibit, Mr. Whitaker said they may show a timeline of events stretching from one side of the room to the other. There will be collages and blown-up copies of newspaper articles about the village. With an abundance of photographs, Ms. Farley said another idea was to show a “now and then” exhibit.

This poster is one of the artifacts that will be on view at the Philmont Public Library. The show will run through July and the library will be open on July 8, Philmont Community Day. Photo by Aaron Krein

“We have quite a few photographs of what a building in town looked like at a certain time frame and what it looks like now,” said Ms. Farley.

Hoping to reach out to residents, she and library board members have posted notices on websites and Facebook to attract contributions.

One item came from a person from Vermont who bought a poster at an antiques store. “It’s just this old cardboard poster and it was for ‘round and square dancing’ in the village from nine to twelve, and our clerk, Sandy–her grandfather happened to do the music. His name is right at the bottom, Charlie Radewitz,” said Ms. Farley.

Mr. Jennings also found a village souvenir from well over a century ago. “When I bought my home, I found in my attic an old bill–I’ll use that word because that’s what they were called–but it’s a flyer and it’s for the Methodist church in town,” he said. “Proceeds to the play they were going to do were going towards painting the church and was dated 1878. It’s in rough shape but it’s something I’m going to bring up to the library. I’m hoping there’s different things that can be brought up that people may not realize ever happened.”

Other highlights include commemorative plates from the village’s bicentennial and a t-shirt featuring Lt. Colonel Oliver North, a “hometown boy.”

Ms. Farley, who has lived in Claverack for the past 14 years after moving from Pine Plains, said that celebrating the past is important as a community. “It’s what moves us forward,” she said. “We wouldn’t have the community without it, besides it being interesting and fun to see how things changed.”

“It’s neat to see families because so many people from the community have stayed, so there’s a lot of family history,” she added. “People can see their family members. It’s another reason why we keep yearbooks still.”

The library is still accepting contributions for the exhibit. Farley said that it doesn’t matter whether photographs that are borrowed are framed. For those who won’t be able to attend Community Day on July 8, Ms. Farley said they will be in luck.

“It will be for all of Community Day and it will also be for the entire month of July,” she said. “There’s no point in putting something up and taking it down.

To contribute to the village history exhibit, contact Library Director Tobi Farley at 518 672-5010 by July 1.

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