THE HISTORY OF ALL SAINTS CHAPEL (ROSENDALE LIBRARY)
All Saints Chapel was constructed in 1875-76. Its masonry combines large pieces of local limestone cement rock (originally a blue-gray, now oxidized to a soft russet), local rubble stone, and Rosendale cement, making it a uniquely Rosendale construction. Over a dozen enormous cement plants in the Town of Rosendale employed 5,000 workers, making the place a rough and rowdy place. To inspire its workers to do something more wholesome on Sundays than to frequent taverns, local cement companies promoted the building of churches in the town.
The chapel, which cost $2000 to build, measured about 20X40 feet and seated 150 people. Local bricks form the long, thin, pointed lancet window arches and the rose window surround. Lintels and trim of local bluestone and a slate roof patterned in scallops and flowers add to its Early English Gothic Revival style. The ceiling, with its scissor beams, rises to a center peak over 20 feet high.
Two devastating hurricane floods in 1955 severely damaged All Saints Chapel and it was abandoned by its congregation. Scheduled to be sold, rumors circulated that it was to be destroyed. The Women’s Club of Rosendale thought it would be perfect for a public library, but did not have the money to buy and refurbish it. Andrew J. Snyder, president of the Century Cement Company, had a strong personal attachment to the chapel and the community. He purchased the chapel, had it repaired, and deeded it to the Library Association in January 1959. Rosendale Library was dedicated on April 12, 1959.
On January 15, 1975, another calamity, this time a fire, destroyed the interior of the Rosendale Library and most of its collection. The community raised enough money not only to repair the building, but also to add a new wing. A young but talented mason carefully matched the addition to the original chapel in style and color.
The All Saints Chapel/Rosendale Library building was placed on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 1986. The building won its designation for its architectural significance, citing its “unusual and interesting materials.”
In 2008, a New York State Education Department grant and fundraising campaign provided the means to replace the 132 year old slate roof with an authentic copy of the original design and materials.
In the summer of 1825, engineers working in Rosendale on the Delaware & Hudson Canal discovered extensive deposits of hydraulic cement which hardens under water and is ideal for canal construction. By the next spring, the quarrying, burning and grinding of hydraulic cement had begun. The canal and cement industries worked hand-in-hand to create a boomtown that attracted many immigrant workers, particularly Irish fleeing the Great Famine of the 1840s. In 1844, the Town of Rosendale was formed from parts of the towns of New Paltz, Hurley and Marbletown to consolidate the cement mining areas into one political entity. The growth of the nation, particularly New York City, spurred the output of Rosendale Cement. In turn, Rosendale Cement literally built most of 19th century New York including the Brooklyn Bridge and the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. Nationwide, Rosendale Cement built the wings of the U.S. Capitol and the lower part of the Washington Monument. In 1874, the Wallkill Valley Railroad started competing with the D&H Canal, building a bridge in Rosendale that was the highest in the U.S. at the time.
ROSENDALE LIBRARY HIGHLIGHTS
1875-76 All Saints Chapel constructed of Rosendale cement and stone.
Dec. 22, 1939 The Comus Club, started for high school girls by Anna Mae Auchmoedy, decides to form a public library in Rosendale.
Jan. 1940 The Woman’s Club helps the Comus Club in their library venture.
June 21, 1940 Rosendale Free Library opens in Anna Mae Auchmoedy’s Town Clerk Office.
Oct.1955 Two severe floods result in the abandonment of All Saints Chapel.
Feb. 13, 1958 Rosendale Library Association is formed, sponsored by the Library Committee of the Rosendale Woman’s Club.
Aug. 16-17, 1958 First Rosendale Library Fair; over 150 volunteer to help.
Oct. 24, 1958 Library Charter is granted by New York State Dept. of Education.
Jan. 2, 1959 Andrew J. Snyder gives property deed of All Saints Chapel to the Rosendale Library Association.
Apr. 12, 1959 Rosendale Library Dedication.
1959 Rosendale Library joins the Mid-Hudson Library System.
Jan. 5, 1975 Library building seriously damaged in fire. Library temporarily housed in Firemen’s Hall.
Nov. 2, 1976 Groundbreaking for 19’X48’ addition to library adding office space, children’s area, bathroom and copier room.
April 1977 Wendy Alexander, MLS librarian, is named Rosendale Library Director.
April 29, 1977 Absolute Charter granted to Rosendale Library by the Board of Regents of the State Education Dept.
Sept. 1979 Handicap ramp is installed at library entrance through a MHLS grant.
Aug.1986 All Saints Chapel/Rosendale Library listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
June 15, 1987 The State of New York establishes a Special District Library for the Town of Rosendale, probably the first of its kind in the Mid-Hudson Valley.
1992 Computers introduced to library for word processing and graphics use.
1995 Recognition as an Electronic Doorway Library by New York State.
1997 Rosendale Library starts offering free public Internet service.
2001 Rosendale Library receives four public use computers through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
2008 Year-long 50th Anniversary Celebration of Rosendale Library.
May 9, 2008 “Raise the Roof” campaign to raise money for a matching grant from N.Y. State Education Dept. to replace the 132 year old slate roof.
2009 Slate roof replacement in original design completed.