The Silver Fork is proud to reside within the historic walls of the old Mark Skinner Library. What follows is a visual journey through the 123 year history of the property and how we reimagined the space for the next chapter in the life of this significant Manchester Village landmark.
Historic photos courtesy of Shawn Harrington of The Manchester Historical Society. New 2020 exterior and interior photos of the Silver Fork at the old Library by Ali Kaukas.
Hand painted postcard of the Mark Skinner Library’s eastern elevation circa 1900 Original Mark Skinner Library Bookplate circa 1897 Mark Skinner Library western elevation circa 1897. Streetscape of the Mark Skinner Library in the heart of Manchester Village at Historic Rte 7A and West Road, circa 1947 Original MSL Reading Room, which became the Children’s section after the 1964 addition and now houses the Silver Fork Bar. Honor guards at the funeral of Mark Skinner’s granddaughter who was tragically killed in an automobile accident in Bennington. Mark Skinner’s grand daughter laying in state inside the reading room. MSL’s First Librarian, Eleanor Eggleston MSL’s second librarian Anna S. Buck The monumental mural above the fireplace mantel in the original reading room The original 1897 Octagon Room, which now houses a private dining room for 8-10 guests at the Silver Fork. The original MSL Stacks, which remained such until it was most recently reimagined as a French inspired commercial gourmet kitchen by Mark French, chef/owner of the Silver Fork The new 1964 edition to the Mark Skinner Library, designed by renowned architect Buckminster Fuller The new 1964 entrance to the MSL Guests at the grand opening celebration of the new 1964 addition. Patrons and donors celebrate the newly minted 1964 addition to the MSL. The mid-century modern decor that was all the rage in 1964 and inspired Lu French’s interior design of the Silver Fork Anna Buck is honored at the 1964 celebration. A new librarian takes the mantel from Anna Buck, circa 1966-7. Anna retired after 58 years as the Mark Skinner Library Head Librarian. For several years the property lay dormant after it was sold to a private buyer and the new Manchester Community Library opened in Manchester Center. In 2020, the landmark property was purchased by Clark and Lu French, who restored it to its former elegance in the heart of Manchester Village. The property was renovated and it’s interiors redesigned to welcome the Silver Fork Restaurant. The warm glow of the Village by starlight The warm glow of the Silver Fork inside its new elegant home. The mid-century modern Dining Room inside the 1964 MSL reading room, as reimagined by Lu French, who designed the new interiors to honor Buckminster Fuller’s mid-century modern architecture, with many nods to the building’s literary past. Southern Vermont Arts Center artists Anthony Surratt, Donna Mara and Chalice Mitchel grace the granite walls of the dining room with their fabulous artwork. All the artwork at the Silver Fork is for sale through the Southern Vermont Arts Center. The Silver Fork lounge, dining room and the bar beyond. The lounge overlooks the Village Green by lamplight. The Silver Fork Bar in what was once Children’s Section and prior to that, the original Reading Room. The original fireplace and over the mantel, Anthony Surratt’s striking mid-century modern inspired painting. The Bar, designed by Richard Farley of Wood & Signs, is made from all of the wood dismantled from the original stacks. It overlooks the Dining Room with it’s large scale mid-century inspired drum chandeliers, also build by Richard Farley from a classic design reimagined by Lu French. The Octagon Room and it’s intimate private dining experience. A fine dining chef’s dream come true – Chef Mark transformed the old stacks into a must-see french-inspired commercial kitchen.