Reaney Days

Reaney Days

Friday, October 30, 2015

Color Me Calm

Color Me Calm With Conversation, our adult coloring group, has been wonderfully received.  In fact, a colleague at a library in the North Country called me and wanted to know if it would be OK if they were to try it.  Of course, the idea is by no means original to MRML!

Lesha Dolan, owner/baker at the Bridge Street Bakery and Café, has been so welcoming to the group and I know several who attend enjoy coffee or tea and a delicious yummy along with the coloring and conversation. 

Originally, we were scheduled to meet three times as a kind of “testing of the waters”.  Well, the waters have been tested and I am pleased to report that we will come together one more time on Tuesday, November 10.  After that, with the busyness of Thanksgiving and Christmas looming, we’ll take a break until January. 

Why coloring you ask?  My reply is, why not?  Obviously, none of our work is ever going to find its way to the Louvre; we are, after all, simply staying in the lines.

However, during the hour and a half we are together there are parents who get a tiny break from their children, while others with pressing personal burdens can gather their thoughts and simply breathe, and those who may live alone enjoy the companionship of a group.  When you add in the fact that coloring is so darn colorful and can bring lightness and brightness to your life, not to mention it is just plain fun, what is not to like?

At the end of the day, beyond the pencils and pens, markers and crayons what we are creating is community and that, in my opinion, is as priceless as any Monet or Picasso. 

Check your calendars.  Maybe you can join us on Tuesday, November 10, 6:30 PM, at Bridge Street Bakery and Café.
Foxy; a Work in Progress.........





Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Bates-Engelhardt Mansion

Members of the St. Johnsville village board, along with village historian Mathew Rapacz, recently unveiled an historic marker in front of the Community House. Funding for the traditional blue and gold sign was successfully secured from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation by former historian Anita Smith.  Long known for her enthusiastic and committed support to her community and the Mohawk Valley, Smith passed away in late spring before the marker could be dedicated. 

Built in 1869 in the Italianate style from local bricks, the building was first home to cheese merchant James Bates.  After Bates fell on hard financial times, the house was sold at a sheriff’s sale to William Peck and eventually to Frederick Engelhardt. 

By the late 1920’s, with the Engelhardt fortune almost gone,  the First National Bank foreclosed on the property and it was purchased and presented to the village by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Reaney.  The Reaney’s specified it was to be used for public and municipal purposes.  The building was formally dedicated as the Community House in 1935. 

The original solarium was enlarged to create an auditorium/dining room that can be used for community events.   In 1962, the village offices were relocated to the building.  The St. Johnsville Police Department and village court are also located within the building. 

The Community House has retained its private home grandeur as is evident by the sweeping front porch, elegant woodwork and three Austrian crystal chandeliers.  

Photos: The Community House, Washington Street, St. Johnsville 

L-R: Mayor Bernard Barnes, Village Trustee Martin Callahan, Village     Historian Mathew Rapacz and Village Trustee Gene Colorito


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Engelhardts and Their Pianos

 On Friday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Community House, the museum committee of Margaret Reaney Memorial Library will present THE ENGELHARDTS AND THEIR PIANOS.
Frederick Engelhardt arrived in the United States from Germany at the age of ten.  With a penchant for woodworking and carving he apprenticed as a cabinet maker eventually becoming a skilled piano artisan.  At one time he worked for Alfred Dolge of Dolgeville.  In the late 1870s Engelhardt relocated to New York working in the Strauch piano action plant where he remained until going to work for the renowned Steinway and Sons.  
Not content with that, Engelhardt had a vision of going into business for himself.  That was realized when he, along with AP Roth, went into business together in New York, relocating to St. Johnsville when their New York business was completely gutted by fire.  AP Roth retired in 1908 with Frederick Engelhardt buying out his interest and renaming the company F. Engelhardt and Sons. 
The program will include a power point presentation, display of Engelhardt items from the museum's collection, question and answer session, and a little music. Anyone who has a photo or item related to the Engelhardts is urged to bring it to share. 
The St. Johnsville Community House is located on Washington Street; please use the ramp entrance off the parking lot.  


Anyone desiring further information is invited to call the Reaney Library at 518-568-7822.