Born into a family of meager means on the East side of Lake George in 1821, Henry Crandall received little formal education. As a young man, he went to work cutting trees near Indian Lake. Under the guidance of John Harris, a successful lumberman of Harrisena, Henry Crandall learned to save and to invest money. At age 29, with $1,000 in savings, he came to Glens Falls to live. Here he successfully invested in real estate and lumbering.
In 1858, Henry Crandall married Betsy Waters, a teacher from Horicon, New York. Soon he built a residence at No. 1 Bay Street on land which he later gave to Glens Falls as a city park. Next door to his residence he owned a business building, the second floor of which, in 1892, he offered to Dr. Williams for use as a library. Henry Crandall also had very definite ideas about how "his" library would operate. He said, " If I give money for a library, I want the books to be absolutely free to anybody who has interest enough in reading... I would be willing, to have the books go as far away as any person cared to come, even if it was as far as Quebec." And so, the library was established as Crandall wished, with free books and services, which continue to this day.
Later, Henry Crandall formed the Crandall Trust to which he conveyed, by his will, another business property at the corner of Glen and South Streets. The income from this property was to be used to support the library and two parks which he provided for the public. Henry Crandall died in 1913, and his wife, a year later. They are buried in Crandall Park, where the grave is marked by a tall granite shaft surmounted by a five-pointed star, his log mark.
Betsy Potter Waters Crandall
1833–1914 (m. 1858)
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