Old Stone House Library

Joan Degner, left, and Arlene Green stand in the newly renovated kitchen and work area in the Old Stone House Library in Fort Ann on Tuesday. The renovations, paid for by a grant, also included a new handicapped-accessible bathroom.

Bill Toscano, btoscano@poststar.com

FORT ANN — Arlene Green and Joan Degner stood in the shiny new kitchen and workroom at the Old Stone House Library and remembered what it used to look like.

“It’s just so much nicer now,” said Degner, one of the board members of the library.

“We did take before pictures, but this is so much nicer,” said Green, the library president. “It’s great to have a nicer workroom and cupboard, and adding a handicapped-accessible bathroom was really important for us, too.”

The library received a $5,000 grant from the Washington Count Home for Aged Women for the work and reopened Tuesday after being closed for several months.

“The biggest thing was cleaning up all the dust,” Green said. “It’s amazing how much dust you kick up when you’re working in an old building like this.”

The Old Stone House Library, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was built around 1825 as a house for Hiram Shipman, and since the early 1920s has functioned as the public library for the community.

The building was a private home until 1922, when it was purchased by George Owen Knapp, who donated it to the public for use as a community center and library.

Knapp, a founding member and the first president of the Union Carbide Co., developed a large estate adjacent to Lake George.

Town Historian Virginia Parrott has said there is some indication the building was a stop on the underground railroad.

There is still working ongoing at the building.

Bill Underwood, of Adirondack Nuisance in Hudson Falls, is working on the second floor, getting rid of the library’s bat issue.

Underwood, who has has been dealing with situations like this for almost 30 years, is not killing the bats, but rather setting up an exclusion system that will keep them from getting back in once they fly out.

The library has two events coming up.

On Saturday, there will be a book sale that will also include a sale of pies made by library board members.

The library, on May 13, will host a Mother’s Day tea for girls and boys in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade. For the tea, children are invited to bring their mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers or a special friend to the library for tea, hot chocolate, sandwiches and dessert. The event will begin with a story and a craft project. Reservations are required and are due by Saturday by calling 639-4071.

You can read Bill Toscano’s blog at poststar.com/blogs or his updates on Twitter, @billtoscano_ps.

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