Warren County Historical Society Presents …

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April 16, 2013

Henry Crandall, Glens Falls Philanthropist

Henry Crandall

The late 1800s in America was the time known as the Industrial Age. After the Civil War, America was behind the rest of the world as far as industry and technologically. The war had postponed advancements. The men who helped bring America into the Industrial Age were accused of being ‘greedy’ by some and as ‘captains of industry’ by others. Many of these rich industrialists were into philanthropy and would use their wealth for this reason. The most well-known and powerful of these great men was Andrew Carnegie. A lesser-known, but local philanthropist was Henry Crandall.

Born in 1821, in the North Creek/Minerva area, Henry Crandall grew up poor. He found his way into the lumber business where he was able to make a lot of money. Through his benevolence, the Village of Glens Falls benefited from his successful business. Locally, an award presented in his honor (not surprisingly, called the Henry Crandall Award) is given to those who follow in Crandall’s footsteps and give back to their community.

Henry Crandall gave much to Glens Falls. He was responsible for maintaining the Civil War monument, erecting the fence that surrounded it for many years.

He bought an old hotel and replaced it with two large commercial buildings to bring commerce to the village. Known as the Crandall block, the buildings served the community well until fire destroyed them. The ‘Crandall Block’ incorporated the area where today the Glens Falls National Bank and the small park at the corner of Glen and South Streets stand.

Crandall Block Downtown Glens Falls. Today the area is occupied by the Glens Falls National Bank and the small park at the corner of Glen and South streets. The building was destroyed by fire in May 1963.

Henry Crandall gave a library and two parks to his community. The first library in the Village of Glens Falls was donated by Henry Crandall. It was located on the second floor of one of Henry Crandall’s businesses that stood in what is now City Park and faced Glen Street. In addition to the space, he also gave the library $2,500 for the first books in the library and provided a steady income for continued support of the library.

The first home of the library in Glens Falls was on the second floor of this building, in space donated by Henry Crandall. He also gave a sum of money to get the collection started. This building was in front of the current library across from the Civil War monument.

The present Crandall Library, located in City Park is on land that Crandall owned and donated to the Village. In memory of and thanks to Henry Crandall, the city has one of the finest libraries in the area.

Crandall Public Library on its present site opened in 1931. Pictured above, the one-story addition on the right was added in 1971. The 1971 addition was razed in 2008 and a new 3-story building was erected in its place.

 

The Crandall Home on Glen Street was located in what is now City Park.

Another park Crandall gave to the village is located at the northern limits of the city. The large open area that today is known as Crandall Park incorporates hiking trails, sports fields, woods, a fishing pond, lighted cross country ski trails, picnic areas, tennis courts, basketball courts and more was a gift from Henry Crandall.

Being interested in the youth of the community, Crandall also organized a saving club for boys. Henry wished to teach them the importance of money and called the organization the Boys Saving Club. The membership of the club was limited to 100 boys between the ages of 12-16. Crandall would provide a bankbook and brass pins for them with an initial deposit of $25.00. If a young man could make their own money and deposit the sum of $37.50 by the time they were 16, Crandall would give them $62.50 when they reached 21 years of age.

The Boys Savings’ Club (1902). Henry Crandall gave a bankbook with $25 to members of the club and an additional $62.50 if the young man was able to add $37.50 to the account by the time he reached 21 years of age.

Henry Crandall died in Glens Falls on February 19, 1913. A monument to him at his final resting place is also in Crandall Park. The tall obelisk with the lighted star at the top marks the grave of Henry Crandall and his wife, Betsey. The five-pointed star at the top of the monument was the logger’s mark that identified Crandall’s logs.Logs that came down the river from the Adirondacks were stamped with logger marks so that the owner of each log was known. The five pointed star belonged to Henry Crandall. A local legend says that Henry Crandall’s favorite team of horses may also be buried nearby his final resting place in the park.

Photo of Henry Crandall with his favorite team of horses. Local legend has it that the horses are buried in Crandall Park near Crandall’s final resting place.

Not only did the citizens of Glens Falls benefit from Crandall’s generosity, but people around the area did as well.

Henry Crandall later in life.

© April 16  2013, Warren County Historical Society

Article prepared by Donald Walton, written when he was a student at SUNY Adirondack, for the Warren County Historical Society. Thanks to Wayne Wright, Glens Falls City Historian for his assistance.

 


 

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