Briarcliff Manor Public Library, One Library Road, Briarcliff Manor, New York, 914-941-7072

Briarcliff Manor and Westchester Local History
Books Websites Briarcliff Library History


The Briarcliff Family Album: Celebrating a Century. Briarcliff Manor Centennial Committee. Cornwall N.Y.: Auric Information Packaging. 2002. 87 pp.
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Village residents produced this book as part of the Briarcliff Manor Centennial Celebration in 2002. A brief history of the area before the Village was incorporated in 1902 precedes a year by year chronology of the Village. Centennial celebration events are described.
Briarcliff Manor: A Village Between Two Rivers. Briarcliff Manor–Scarborough Historical Society. White Plains: Monarch Publishing, Inc. 1977. 100pp.
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This book presents the history of Briarcliff Manor from colonial times to the nineteen seventies and includes sections on Walter Law, Briarcliff Farms, Briarclff Lodge, Schools, the Library, and Churches. Personal reminisces from long–time Briarcliff residents are included as well as black and white and color pictures that offer a glimpse of Briarcliff past and present.
A Century of Volunteer Service: Briarcliff Manor Fire Department 1901–2001. Briarcliff Manor Fire Department. 2001. 114 pp.
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A detailed history of the Briarcliff Manor Fire Department from its beginnings in 1901 as a 14–member private fire company to its centennial, this work also features photos of all Village Fire Chiefs to 2003 as well as pictures and descriptions of the changing fire fighting apparatus used over the years.
Cheever, Mary. The Changing Landscape: A History of Briarcliff Manor–Scarborough. Kennebunk, Maine: Phoenix Publishing. 1990. 257 pp.
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Mary Cheever, the wife of noted author John Cheever, wrote this thoroughly researched and well–written account of Briarcliff Manor and Scarborough. The book is broken into four parts: The Forest, The Farms, The Millionaires' Estates and Lots, Plats and Condominiums. An appendix lists public officials. A bibliography and detailed index are included. The many black and white photographs and drawings illustrate important Briarcliff institutions as well as notable people.
Drury, George H. New York Central in the Hudson Valley: The Water Level Route in Steam and Diesel. Waukesha, W.I.: Kalmback Publishing Co. 1995. 127 pp.
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A brief history of the New York Central Railroad along with many historic photographs of trains and railroad stations on the various lines that ran through the Hudson Valley is provided. A short discussion of the Putnam Division and a few photographs of the Briarcliff Manor Station are included.
Gallo, Daniel R. and Frederick A. Kramer. The Putnam Division: New York Central's Bygone Route through Westchester County. Westfield, N.J.: Bells & Whistles. 1989. 80 pp.
R 625.1 Gallo
The story of the New York Central Railroad, Putnam Division, which ran from New York City to Brewster in Putnam County, is recounted. Trains ran on the Putnam Division from 1880 until 1970 when the last train ran between Carmel and Brewster. The railroad station built in Briarcliff Manor by Walter Law was converted into the Village Library after the cessation of passenger service. Several photographs of the Briarcliff Manor station appear.
Oechsner, Carl. Ossining, New York: An Informal Bicentennial History. Croton–on–Hudson, N.Y.: North River Press. 1975. 138 pp.
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The development of the Village of Ossining from its earliest Native American inhabitants, the settling of the Villages of Sparta and Sing–Sing, and the subsequent incorporation of these early settlements into the Village of Ossining, are explored. There are chapters on Sing–Sing Prison, the Croton Aqueduct, Homes and Mansions, and Briarcliff Manor. Many interesting vignettes of local people and places and historical photographs and drawings help give a good picture of what life was like in this area in the past.
Our Village: Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. 1902 to 1952. Historical Committee of the Semi–Centennial. 1952. 94 pp.
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A brief history of Briarcliff Manor from colonial times to 1952, this 50th anniversary memento includes chapters on early days, government, the board of education, and people. Many wonderful historic photographs are reproduced.
Sharman, Karen M., editor. Glory in Glass: A Celebration of the Briarcliff Congregational Church 1896–1996. Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.: Caltone Color Graphics. 1996. 191 pp.
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The history of the Briarcliff Congregational Church from its modest beginnings in 1896 to its centennial year of 1996 is presented in this attractive book. A section on the stained glass windows of the church, many of which were created at the Tiffany Studios, appears in large photographs with detailed descriptions.
Swanson, Susan Cochran and Elizabeth Green Fuller. Westchester County: A Pictorial History. Harrison, N.Y.: Harbor Hill Books. 1982. 1999 pp.
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This pictorial history of Westchester County contains wonderful historic drawings and photographs of important places, people and events in Westchester history. Several images related to Briarcliff Manor include Briarcliff Farms, Briarcliff Lodge, and the Briarcliff Stock Car Race.
Williams, Gray. Picturing Our Past: National Register Sites in Westchester County. Elmsford, N.Y.: Westchester County Historical Society. 2003. 480 pp.
R 974.727 Williams
This substantial and well–illustrated book includes descriptions of the 165 National Register Sites located in Westchester County. Briarcliff Manor sites included are: the All Saints' Episcopal Church; St. Mary's Episcopal Church of Scarborough; Sleepy Hollow Country Club; Beechwood Estate; and Scarborough School.

Briacliff Manor/Scarborough Historical Society –
You can find historic photographs of the Village of Briarcliff Manor as well as a short history, listings of special upcoming Society events, and historical products on this website.
Ossining Historical Society –
The Website describes the holdings of the Society which includes genealogical research resources, historical records, local newspapers, and many other materials. The OHS maintains a museum with an extensive costume collection.
Historical River Towns of Westchester –
This website includes information on historic attractions in the "Historic River Towns," the 13 municipalities along the east bank of the Hudson River, including Peekskill, Cortlandt, Buchanan, Croton-on-Hudson, Town and Village of Ossining, Briarcliff Manor, Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown, Irvington, Dobbs Ferry, Hastings-on-Hudson, Yonkers and Historic Hudson Valley.
Westchester County Archives –
This repository of county records and archives provides a Research Guide to resources that can be used to obtain historic records on people who lived in Westchester County.
Westchester County Land Records –
The Westchester County Clerk's Office maintains County land records including deeds going back to 1680 and mortgages recorded as far back as 1957. You can search the index online for free, but there is a fee to obtain the full image of the record. You can view the actual record for free by going to the County Clerk's Office in White Plains.
Westchester Historical Society –
Information on the Society's extensive library of Westchester-related materials and research publications may be found as well as items on events and school resources.
Historic Hudson Valley –
This website provides information on the Library of Historic Hudson Valley which contains maps, graphics, rare books, manuscripts, the Washington Irving Collection, and 10,000 titles focusing on the Hudson Valley.


Pictorial History of Briarcliff Manor Public Library (slideshow)

Railroad Timeline:
1909Walter W. Law, Village founder, built the railroad station as a gift to Briarcliff Manor. Built as a gabled station house, of English design, it sported oriental rugs on the floor and flowers on the tables in his time. He also gave the adjacent 6-acre Law Park to the Village of Briarcliff Manor.
1880-1958The 53 mile long Railroad track was in service for the Putnam Division of the New York Central Railroad. It was intended primarily for freight traffic to carry iron ore from Mahopac and Tilly Foster mines in Putnam County.
1890'sThe mines caved in during the 1890's, putting a halt to the need for iron ore transport, but passengers continued to use the line.
1928Passenger use dropped.
1970Trains ceased to run.
1981The Railroad bed was leased by the County from the Department of Transportation to use the right of way for recreational purposes. Route becomes the widely-used rail trail.
Library Timeline:
1914Briarcliff Community Club sponsors and houses Library in their headquarters.
1921Library registered with New York State
1928Community Club property sold to Parkway Commission (9A) and Library moves to Tower Room of Briarcliff Realty Building
1930Library moved to High School
1949Library moves to two rooms in the Village Recreation Bulding
1958Railroad Station is converted into Library which opens in January of 1959
Building Budget (1958):
$12,500 to purchase station
$2,000 to rebuild interior
$1,000 to paint and clean the outside timbers and stucco
$3,500 in additional funds to convert the baggage room into a meeting room
$14,000 raised by Villagers - balance funded by Library Board
(would have cost $100,000 to build a library building, which "would have been flimsy and modern instead of massive," according to the then Board President, Charles H. Schuman)
1959Absolute Charter granted from the New York State Board of Regents to the Briarcliff Manor Free Library
1964NYS Board of Regents granted charter as a Public Library
1980Mezzanine added for additional book stacks - cosmetic work done
1995Referendum for a 10,600 sq. ft. library failed by 13 votes; a total of 871 votes are cast
1997Interior renovations completed - painting, carpeting, new workstations, main desk, and incidental furnishings
1999Exterior renovations completed - new roof, chimney, exterior millwork, painting, cleaning of stucco, exterior lighting improvements.
2000Community based Planning Committee creates Long-Range Plan for the Library with chief goal to provide adequate space...
2001Westchester Library System Board unanimously votes final waiver as the Library has not filed a plan to meet NYS Standard #8 - that each library maintain a facility to meet community needs, including adequate space, lighting, shelving, seating and restroom.
2001Village Board considers schematic plan to expand Library at current site
2002The Project to convert the long-vacant Kings College property into "the Garlands," a Continuing Care Retirement Center, offers to "provide a donation of $2.25 million towards the construction of the library renovation and expansion."
2003Library and Village negotiate with New York State to keep Library from Registration review/Charter revocation, indicating that permanent expansion will take place either at current site or at Garland site. Library will provide modular space on present site as interim step toward remaining open.
2004Modular installed and opened as new Library Children's Room
2006Referendum Passed by 222 votes to spend up to $4 million to expand the library at its current site.
2007Groundbreaking for 6,600 sq. ft. New Addition to Building. Construction commences summer of 2007 and continues through 2008.
2009February 19, 2009 the New Addition opens with a Grand Opening Celebration on March 8, 2009.
2009The BMSHS was given a permanent location at the Eileen O'Connor Weber Historical Center, established as part of the expanded Briarcliff Manor Public Library in the lower level.
2011in June 2011, Recreation Department offices open in lower level of the library.
2016Original railroad station/library building opens as William J. Vescio Community Center - 2016 with dedication on May 30, 2016

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This website was created by Amy B.G. Kaplan (

Last revised September 14, 2021