A Glimpse of Our 1915 Annual Conference
SLA’s Centennial Commission map of past conferences caught my eye. Tiny Haines Falls, New York, (population 913) was the site of SLA’s 1915 annual conference. The only possible place could be Twilight Park, a private resort, built in 1888, and my vacation retreat for the past fourteen years. How? Where? What was it like?
Only six years young, SLA held its 1915 annual conference in conjunction with the New York Library Association. The program placed emphasis on the library field of possible service rather than on matters of technique. Men of note from other professions were also invited to address the conference.
Fire has since claimed the headquarters hotel, Squirrel Inn, but a portion of Santa Cruz Inn (shown at left) still stands as a private residence. Santa Cruz was described as the alternate selection for those wanting a quieter environment. A five-minute hike through the woods and you would be at the headquarters hotel. Rates were $2.50 per day, or $3.00 if you wanted a private bath. Groups might rent a cottage. The marketing for the conference outlined various transportation options. You would travel “but six hours by rail from New York City” (100 miles from Manhattan) where the Squirrel Inn stage met all trains.
So, today, on SLA’s 100th anniversary, I’m sitting in my cottage, reflecting on the wonderful journey of information professionals to this centennial marker. Later today, I will hike around the park and find a quiet spot in front of a waterfall and dream the future that is being created by SLA’s 11,000 members as we “Align in ‘09” and what my small contribution might be.
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