In “ American Tapestry, the Mowers of Maple Lane, Woodstock NY” Janine Fallon Mower writes:
Ralph Whitehead founded the Woodstock Club in 1913, and his intention was to create a process by which locals and new comers could come together to create a civic improvement plan. Civic- minded Woodstockers, Walter and Bertha Weyl, Dr. Mortimer Downer, Carl and Louise Linden joined Ralph Whitehead at a gathering at White Pines to flesh out Whitehead’s ideas. The resulting plan included developing a wellness program and to raise funds that would support trained nurses who could serve Woodstockers when the need arose. After many lengthy discussions, the group generated a plan to found a “ book club” for their community. Local builder George Neher offered to convert the ground floor of a barn ( later to be transformed into the Nook and the Café Espresso) he had recently purchased and rent it to the club for $ 10.00 a month.
Whitehead and friends held various fundraisers to support the newly established Book Club and the health nurse. According to minutes in 1915, “ the proceeds from a rummage sale amounted to $ 162.00 benefit and a concert in August netted $ 63.00”. Toward the end of 1917, minutes of the Woodstock Club meeting reflected that the nurses fund had been depleted due to “ three cases of illness” and the Library ( former book club) would be closed for the winter “ owning to a shortage of coal”. During the ten years between 1920 and 1930 the sum of $ 4478.19 had been disbursed by the managers of the Market Fair”. The Woman’s Club, the Library and the Firemen have been given generous amounts each year.
As it turns out, the first Saturday Market fair was held in Woodstock in 1917 under the direction of Ethel Peets and Marion Eames, as a fund raiser for the Red Cross. This very popular street fair continued under the direction of Mary Terwilliger and later Dorothy and Virginia Seesel.
The Mower family picked up the tradition of Saturday Fairs and began Mower’s Saturday fleamarket in 1977. To read the rest of the story, contact Janine Fallon Mower at Woodstockfleamarket@hvc.rr.com or thru Mower’s Saturday fleamarket on facebook. Books are available from the author for 16.00 each.