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August 17, 2021

Paula Campbell
Posted 8/17/21

August 17 - Everyone has heard about and many of us have used a Little Free Library. In 2009 Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin built a dollhouse, sized wooden case in the shape of a one room schoolhouse …

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August 17, 2021


August 17 - Everyone has heard about and many of us have used a Little Free Library. In 2009 Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin built a dollhouse, sized wooden case in the shape of a one room schoolhouse from a recycled garage door and placed it onto a pole and put it at the end of his driveway and filled it with books.

Mr. Bol built his little schoolhouse in memory of his mother who was a schoolteacher and loved to read. For Mr. Bol it began with a simple concept-take a book and leave a book.

His inspiration really struck, and the Little Free Libraries didn’t simply grow, they exploded in popularity, and there are over 100,000 Little Free Libraries in 108 countries and on every continent except Antarctica. It is now the largest book sharing movement in the world.

As luck would have it for the Town of Highland Patricia Fraysse was set to celebrate her 80th birthday and her daughter Susan Fraysse Russ was exploring ways to celebrate her mother’s special day. Knowing her mother loved to read Susan decided on installing a Little Free Library in her mother’s honor in a busy well-traveled spot in Eldred.

Lou Monteleone donated the perfect location on his lawn near the Pizza Piazza and next to Jeff Bank. Susan enlisted local master carpenter, Art Peterson, who has been part of the Burn Brae family for years and was responsible for many of the Mansion’s restoration projects, and he beautifully created and designed Patricia’s Little Library with so much care and detail to pay homage not only to Patricia but to the historic Burn-Brae Mansion in Glen Spey where she lives.

Burn Brae was originally built in 1907 by Margaret Ross Mackenzie Elkin as part of the estate of George Ross Mackenzie the third president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. Today this one hundred and fourteen-year-old Victorian beauty is a five-star rated estate themed B+B, dinner theater venue and a favorite events location is an absolute perfectly preserved jewel in our community.

Burn Brae is also a stop on the New York State Haunted History Trail and has been the subject of numerous paranormal investigations. With its sweeping front porches and its pale-yellow color and surrounded by expansive beautiful lawns and twenty wooded acres it has been the home for the Fraysee family for twenty-eight years.

For Patricia’s birthday a good-sized upbeat crowd gathered on Sunday, August 8th for the official unveiling of the Patricia Fraysse Little Free Library.

With its signature pale-yellow color, a marvelous weathervane on the roof and a miniature stained-glass window made by Tracie Hickman of Glen Spey and side windows that are replicas of the Mansion’s windows- replete with Irish lace curtains made by Patricia, the ceremonies were hosted by our neighbor, actress and author Melissa Gilbert Busfield who donated two books and brought a third book donated by her husband Tim Busfield to inaugurate the Little Library. Patricia did the honors cutting the ribbon and everyone started donating books and the Little Library was filled very quickly. “I have always loved to read, and a big part of that fun is swapping books when I’m done. To have my family, friends and neighbors come together to establish such a beautiful library in my honor-a place where more people can have access to books and the entire community can enjoy exchanging-is right out of a fairy tale,” Patricia told me.

With a fresh batch of free books, live music, and hot dogs, it was a pretty fabulous birthday celebration and a lovely heartfelt community tribute to Patricia Fraysse. Thank you to the Fraysse family for Eldred’s first ever beautiful Little Library and Happy Birthday Patricia!


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