Historic Moffat Library Comes Home
By Eugenia Moskowitz
Washingtonville – The Moffat Library held its grand reopening Sept. 16 on a hot sunny day with a crowd of over 500 in attendance. Six years after closing due to damage from Hurricane Irene, the library once again opened its doors as the architectural centerpiece of Washingtonville as well as a community center, offering many programs and events for children, teens, adults, and seniors.
The library had been housed for the last six years in a building in Campbell Hall graciously provided by local company Advance Testing. The move back to the original building, greatly expanded and with 35 parking spaces, took place from mid-August to mid-September as Standback Construction put the finishing touches on its massive project to realize architect Paul Mays’ vision of modernizing and expanding a building while keeping within the parameters of what can be done with a recognized historic structure.
After the Washingtonville High School JROTC Honor Guard brought in the colors, the Pledge of Allegiance was said, the national anthem was sung by Barbara Horne, and the high school band played “America the Beautiful.” Then, in the bright sunlight flooding the new main entrance, Celebration Committee chair Jeanne Versweyveld and Board of Directors president Dennis Barnett spoke about the history of the library and its long road to renaissance.
Michaela Frisbee played the bagpipes on the new front porch, after which Paul Mays and others spoke. Finally, Orange County Poet Laureate Emeritus Rose Werkman talked about what the library actually does for residents with its ability, via print and electronic media, to take local minds to far off places and expand knowledge and thought. Director Carol McCrossen then had the honor of cutting the red ribbon, after which everybody went inside to see the long-anticipated interior. In attendance were the library’s various committee members, Moffat staff, town and village officials, and hundreds of area residents and children.
“Five hundred people,” Versweyveld later marveled. “I had ordered only 300 chairs. The overwhelming amount of people who came was amazing to see.”
“After six years,” McCrossen said, “we are so thrilled to be embarking on a new chapter in the history of the Moffat Library, and we thank this generous community for their support throughout the project. It was all for you.”
Washingtonville Mayor Joe Bucco said, “This building is truly a work of art and architecture. As the famous architect I.M.Pei once said, ‘Architecture is the very mirror of life. You only have to cast your eyes on buildings to feel the presence of the past, the spirit of a place; they are the reflection of society.’ This is evident in the Moffat Library. Welcome home.”
(Photos by Laurie Baisley nnd Eugenia Moscowitz)