The Julia L. Butterfield Memorial Library was established by the will of the late Julia L. Butterfield. Mrs. Butterfield died on August 6, 1913 at the age of 90.
Mrs. Butterfield was born on December 19, 1824, in St. Marks' Place, New York City, NY. She moved to Cold Spring in 1852, with her first husband Fredrick James. Up until the time of her death, she spent a large portion of her time at her beautiful Cold Spring residence known as Cragside. Cragside was located on the site of the new Haldane Central School District's high school building. The gatehouse to Cragside still stands today on the corner of Route 9D (Morris Avenue) and Craigside Drive.
Mrs. Butterfield loved to entertain, and her frequent guests included, the Grand Duke of Russia, the Count of Paris, Presidents of the United States, several governors, famous generals and bishops.
Many of the paintings that hang in the Library today once hung in Cragside. The most famous of which is " A Pic-Nic on the Hudson," painted in 1863 by Hudson River School artist Thomas Rossiter. Rossiter also lived Cold Spring and was a friend of Mrs Butterfield. The painting depicts a group of friends and neighbors enjoying a fashionable picnic on Constitution Island. The group includes Julia James, the future Mrs. Daniell Butterfield, whose estate endowed the library in 1913.