Tomkins Cove Library History 


Many more historical photos of Tomkins Cove are available by clicking here:


Hudson River Valley Heritage Collection


Information provided by Ann Vitale from Cole and Green (books in our local history collection) and old timers in the community.


The Tomkins Cove Public Library was once the Tomkins Cove Union School. If you look carefully on the front of the building you can still faintly see the letters as well as the inscription "Erected by Calvin Tomkins 1874." Before this there was only a small wooden building that served as a schoolhouse but was only open for a brief period each year.


Calvin Tomkins and his brother Daniel came to the hamlet now known as Tomkins Cove in 1838. In 1859 the Tomkins' Lime Company was formed by Calvin and Daniel Tomkins. Calvin Tomkins built a life for himself in Tomkins Cove and decided to give to the community by having a poured concrete school built and established in 1874. This is a rare type of construction. There are only a few known examples in the area. One other was his "gothic" mansion "Boulderberg Manor" also constructed with poured concrete in 1858.


The school children remember fondly the building and the teachers who so influenced their lives. In the early days they walked to school cutting through the woods as far away as Buckberg Mountain. The boys and girls had separate entrances. The bell still resides in the cupola and could be rung by the principal or caretaker on the first floor as a long rope ran all the way down from the top. The rope is now gone but the holes it ran through can still be seen. On the second floor you can still see the original blackboards that were in the classrooms.


The last students to use the building were in the 1950's. Schools were in the process of amalgamating and many schools were closed down including the Tomkins Cove Union School. Thereafter a concerned group of citizens formed a committee to turn the building into a library. A provisional Charter was issued on April 26, 1963 and the permanent Charter on September 27, 1968. Since then, it has been known as the Tomkins Cove Public Library



The Staff of Tomkins Cove Public Library