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A History of
Staten Island
New York
first Permanent Settlement 1661


 

 

 

 


Welcome to Staten Island's Past

Best known for its vast parks and beach areas, Staten Island is a place where many generations of people
have come to make a good life for their families. This borough has always been known for its family values and
slower pace of living. Yet, we are just a boat ride away from the most exciting place in the world... "Manhattan" For residents of other boroughs, the Island's beaches and parks are a retreat from the crowded city streets. This is a borough, rich in history  and I hope to share some of that history with fellow native Islanders and  welcome all who
have made Staten Island their home. Enjoy your tour, in text and photo and please visit often, as I try to update on a
regular basis. Any photos or memories you can share will just make this website better for all. Please write to us
and let us know what you think of our website

 

 

     Care to take a step back in time to the Staten Island of years gone by? To a time long before developers threatened our rural, sea-kissed landscape with rows of cookie-cutter townhouses, big-name retailers and over-sized "mini" malls?
Would you like to sit back, re-live cherished memories and recharge amid the down-home charm of close-knit neighbor
hoods, mom-and-pop shops and bustling beach areas? Would you like to see what's been lost over time and what
things looked like here when grandma and grandpa were kids?
     Perusing the "Old Staten Island" Web site, posted in June,2004 is like having a beautifully-illustrated history book of the borough right at your fingertips. Intrigued visitors can, of course, begin their time-travel journey anywhere they'd like, but in order to put the site in the appropriate perspective, it might be best to start with the historical events page. Far from being a tedious lesson in social studies, this page features an engaging timeline of key events in the history of Richmond County dating from the early 1600s through to the present day. For trivia of a different kind, there's the "Staten Island in Film" page which references dozens of films reported to contain scenes on Staten Island or from the Staten Island Ferry. Another fun, lighthearted page is "Famous Islanders," which lists the names, along with brief biographies, of those who have, at one time or another, called Staten Island home. (We bet you'll come across a few surprises here!) Once your mind is chock full of details like these, site visitors can take a stroll through the virtual galleries of sentimental postcards and photographs and charming old store and movie ads. Where did Sublett come upon such information in the first place? The public library, of course. In fact, he spent weeks at the St. George Library researching old records and scanning early editions of the Advance to make sure the historical details given were not only thorough, but accurate as well. He also consulted several books written about the borough over the years. "It's really been a learning experience for me," Sublett shared. "Staten Island has such an amazing history." As for the featured photographs, he is grateful to have received most of them as "donations."


                                                                                                                  ~ written by Tamara Valles September 08, 2004 in The SI Advance

 


"God might have made a more beautiful spot than Staten Island,
but He never did"

                                                                              
                                                                        ~ George William Curtis (from Staten Island)
 

 

Home Historic Timeline Famous Islanders S.I. Memories S.I. in Film North Shore South Shore East Shore West Shore South/Midland Beach Stapleton Travis Old S.I. Ads Transportation S.I. Theaters Books on S.I. S.I. Military Old Town Names S.I. Advance Story S.I. Tragedies S.I. Eateries Contact Us Guestbook

 

Our Memories Page has now reached "1000" entries,
so if you would like to reminisce for a few hours or so
put on a pot of coffee, get your reading glasses and relive all your childhood
memories of Good Old Staten Island

 

 

 

 

Great for the Holidays for all your family with Staten Island ties, be it past or present these two books and Photo CD will bring back great memories of Old Staten Island

 

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Were there really four airports here? Was the Staten Island Airport shut down each night to ensure no peril to the patrons of the drive-in theater? Did rides and trolleys really exist on the South Beach - Midland Beach Boardwalk? Were there restaurants with a huge hot dog on its roof or one built like a chuck wagon, a jolly trolley or a windmill. Were farms prevalent on the Island and did wildlife roam our backyards? Can it be that there were two movie theaters on New Dorp Lane? Were the beaches so clean that you actually paid to use them? Was fresh milk and bread actually delivered to our front door? Did Santa really ride the Christmas Train and stop at Jersey Street and Richmond Terrace and give out presents to the kids? Was there really a home for orphaned kids (Mount Loretto) (where once a month my mother promised to check me into)? In the 1930's, Which of Staten Island's best known restaurateurs, bought a house across the street from his famous restaurant and built a 200-foot tunnel between the house and the restaurant so that he could safely carry the day's receipts from the restaurant to his home. Did such rock legends, like the Allman Brothers, Vanilla Fudge, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath and the Kinks really play the Island? Did John F Kennedy, sip coffee at the St. George ferry terminal? Can you believe that a famous Island milk company resorted to rowboats to delivery milk to areas from Oakwood to Midland Beach during some of the worst storms to every hit that area? These were some of the many questions I had as my interest in Staten Islands past grew. In recent years I have come across so much information about our Island's rich and diverse past, that I wanted to share with all Native Islanders and people who have called the Island home. But I did not want this to be another history book on Staten Island, though; at times it may look that way. I will not go into details about the British occupation of Staten Island for seven years, or the draft riots during the civil war, or the burning down of the Quarantine Station. I will try my best to make this a lighthearted look at memories that we have of a place that was and is still close to our hearts. I will try my best to make you say, "Wow, I remember that". . . .
 

From the Publisher

Being a native Staten Islander, I thought I knew all about this Island. In my later years I became very interested in the Islands history. I wondered about all the things I was told about Staten Island but never had the opportunity to personally see. This work is a collaboration of many people and many sources of information.
 

Product Details

bulletPaperback: 262 pages
bulletPublisher: CreateSpace (January 28, 2009)
bulletLanguage: English
bulletISBN-10: 1440443505
bulletISBN-13: 978-1440443503
bulletProduct Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
bulletShipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
bulletAverage Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

$17.95 + $3.00 Shipping

Book can be autographed

 

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

To the shores of this Island have come many generations of people who were determined to make a good life for their families. They have left behind them a record of significant contributions in all fields of human endeavor. Awareness and appreciation of this heritage can come only through knowledge and understanding of past struggles and achievements. ( as written in Holden's Staten Island: The History of Richmond County ) The Island has been a haven and a home for many, ranging from: The family of a President of the United States ( John Tyler - Broadway and Clove Road ) Two of our country's Vice Presidents of the early 19th century A dethroned Emperor of Mexico ( Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna - Known as "The butcher of the Alamo" ) A liberator of Italy ( Garibaldi ) The first native born American ( Elizabeth Bayley Seton ) beatified by the Roman Catholic Church The Governess to the children of the King of Siam ( Anna Leonownes ) As well as many inventors, scientists, poets, editors, artists and scores of naval and army heroes.
 

About the Author

Author of many books about Staten Island, New York. The author is a native Islanders and a lifelong resident. His love of Staten Island can be felt in his writing.
 

Product Details

bulletPaperback: 166 pages
bulletPublisher: CreateSpace (April 15, 2010)
bulletLanguage: English
bulletISBN-10: 1452818193
bulletISBN-13: 978-1452818191
bulletProduct Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.4 inches
bulletShipping Weight: 10.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)

 

$15.95 + $3.00 Shipping

Book can be autographed

 

Staten Island Winter Scenes


Brooks Falls


Bulls Head Tavern

 

Lighthouse Christmas 1914


St. Marks Place, New Brighton


Westervelt Avenue, New Brighton


Richmond Avenue Holidays 1930s


Port Richmond Avenue

Port Richmond Square



Port Richmond Avenue & Richmond Terrace

 

 


 

Staten Island Quiz

Here is a nice Staten Island quiz made up by one of my website visitors

WHO DID NOT LIVE ON STATEN ISLAND ?

Choose the ONE person in each group who did NOT live on Staten Island

 

1. Paul Newman - Jerry Orbach - Martin Sheen

2. Mabel Normand - Annie Oakley - Lillian Gish

3. Alexander Hamilton - Daniel D. Tompkins - Aaron Burr

4. Brooke Astor - Amy Vanderbilt - Emily Post

5. Gene Simmons - Alice Cooper - Vito Picone

6. Christina Aguilera - Madonna - Joan Baez

7. Willie Sutton - Paul Castelanno - John Gotti

8. George Westinghouse - Charles Goodyear - Giuseppe Garibaldi

9. Gerald Arpino - Clive Thompson - Alvin Alley

10. Buffalo Bill Cody - Peter Stuyvesant - Ichabod Crane,

11. Langston Hughes - Henry David Thoreau - Walt Whitman

12. Ernest Flagg - John A. Roebling - John Merven Carrere

13. Robert Merrill - Eileen Farrell - George M. Cohan

14. Bobby Thomson - Terry Crowley - Joe Torre

15. Franceso Scavullo - Ansel Adams - Mario Buatta

16. Rocky Graziano - Randy “Macho Man” Savage - Mike Siani

17. Steven Segal - Robert Loggia - Sylvester Stallone

18. Isaac Asimov - Paul Zindel - George William Curtis

19. Francis Cardinal Spellman - Pat Robertson - Father Vincent Capodanno

20. Elizabeth Ann Seton - Alice Austin - Emma Lazarus

 

You can find the answers as soon as you buy my book
"Famous People from Staten Island" :)
or
you can check back in a few weeks when I post the 20 answers

If you like email me with the answers, I will email back if you get all 20 correct

click here - Famous Islanders Quiz Answers

 

 

 

Willie Sutton on Staten Island

Famous bank robber Willie Sutton settled on Staten Island after escaping from Holmesburg prison, Philadelphia in 1947. He hid out on Staten Island while the cops hunted him down ( from a story in The Saturday Evening Post – June 9th 1951 )

Under the name of Eddie Lynch, he worked as a porter in the Farm Colony Hospital (across the road from Seaview Hospital) for $90.00 a month. He spent a few years at the Farm Colony.

After Willie crunched out of the Pennsylvania prison in February 1947, he'd come to Staten Island where he'd spent three whole years scrubbing floors in his hospital job, meanwhile living quietly with a landlady ( a nice Irish lady named Mary Corbett) on Kimball Avenue in Castleton Corners and going to church, on Sundays with her and helping her tend her flowers. During a two week vacation that he had, he waterproofed the cellar of Marys house. He seeded the lawn and painted the house. This small house on a quiet street became his sanctuary. As long as he was in this house he felt completely safe. He felt as if the bank robber "Willie Sutton' was dead and the fairly decent "Eddie Lynch" had taken his place.

Throughout much of this period, he was very patiently observing the daily routines at the Manufacturers Trust Co., 47-11 Queens Blvd., Sunnyside, Queens, getting to know exactly what the guards did when. Accordingly, things went like perfect clockwork when Willie and several pals hit the bank for $63,933 one morning in March 1950. After which Willie unobtrusively took the IRT and the ferry and the No. 111 bus back to Kimball Ave. and remained uncaught for two more years. In Willie’s words - "These young kids, they don't believe in hard work," he grumbled. "All these kids want to do is run into a bank, grab the money and run out.

A headline from The Washington Post - Washington, D.C. Mar 26, 1950
" Fugitive's Landlady Held in $50,000 Bail" 
A Staten Island woman who rented a room to Willie Sutton, bank robber and jail breaker, until four weeks ago was held in $50,000 bail today as a material witness in the $64,000 robbery of a bank in Sunnyside, Long Island, on March 9.
 

 


The St. George Theatre

If anyone remembers the St. George Theatre, you will be glad to hear it has been revitalized and is open for business, it is now a showplace for Broadway quality entertainment, concerts, comedy and much more.
I have personally been to this theater many times and I can say, it rivals many of the theater houses in Manhattan.


To read about or to get tickets please click the photo below

 

 

Graham Beach
1947



Dot's Spot on the Beach

The story begins when Bud (Thomas) and Dot (Dorothy) Ferry were told by their little girl’s doctor, that she should be brought to the sea shore to help restore her health after surviving a bout of rheumatic fever. Bud had an idea to get to the shore. He found and purchased a surplus storage building that the Army had for sale. Bud  and his friend, Teddy, refurbished the building making it the only hot dog stand on Graham Beach. All went well. The concession was named Dot’s Spot, as Dot would be the major operator of the cute stand on the beach. Dot kept a very large drawer filled with baking potatoes on hand, and when weather would allow, she would dole out the potatoes, to  beach-goers who had a driftwood fire going. They would throw the potatoes into the glowing embers and then enjoy the wonderful aroma and taste of the charred “pommes de terre”. Their little girl, Joyce, did indeed regain her health and she along with her brother, Tommy, enjoyed several carefree, adventure filled summers at the shore. Then came a strong Nor’easter in the fall of 1948, and the hot dog stand was no more. The storm swept the stand off its foundation, down the road about five(5) blocks and three or four blocks inland, where it was deposited right in the middle of the street until bull dozers came in to clear the streets and redeposit the tons of sand to the beach.

 

 


 

There has been much comment about how many Wetson's and where they were on the Island

As far as my research goes I have found four Wetsons locations

The two addresses in the above photo + two more

#1 - 1525 Hylan Blvd. was on the corner of "Burgher" Avenue, Dongan Hills
        ( Now a Mr Bargain II Auto Parts )   Robert Hall Clothes was across the street

#2 - 1767 Forest Avenue near Morningstar Road, Graniteville 
        ( Now a Firestone Store )

#3 - Forest Avenue between Broadway and North "Burgher" Avenue West Brighton
        ( Now a Bagel/Deli Place)

#4 - Richmond Avenue, New Springville
        ( Near Pathmark and Costco )

 

 

...... A story from the book

 

Mosquitoes Scare off Ulysses S. Grant

 

At the close of his presidency he visited Staten Island with the thought of accepting an offer from the American people. That offer was the famed Garner Mansion in West New Brighton. Except for the swarms of mosquitoes that inhabited Staten Island, the prominent American would have become an Island resident. The dwelling which Mr. and Mrs. Grant anticipated occupying was the building which had been erected by a prominent New York businessman, Charles Taber, and sold to Mr. W.T. Garner, Commodore of the New York Yacht Club. After the catastrophe during July 1876, when Mr. Garner and all on board his yacht had been drowned when the vessel capsized during a storm, the house was selected by a committee as the people’s gift to General Grant.

This plan was, however nipped in the bud by the hordes of mosquitoes which in 1876 were a scourge on Staten Island. On a gloriously bright day in June, General Grant was brought down to inspect the place. The day was ideal and he expressed himself as delighted with the magnificent property and beautiful surroundings, and all that was needed was the approval of Mrs. Grant. But the time selected for her visit proved to be just the reverse. The day was hot and muggy and the mosquitoes swarmed in the millions.

It was not possible to postpone the visit. So a pair of fast horses whirled the lady across the country, and she was actually in the house before the pests made an impression. Mrs. Grant was as pleased with the house as had been the General, and in due time suggested an inspection of the grounds. Then came all manner of excuses: she ‘was too tired for further exercise on such a warm day: inspection of the grounds and neighboring estates would take an entire day and had best be left to another visit,’ etc., etc., etc. But she was one who believed in doing it now, and the resulting trip through the mosquito infested shrubbery quenched all desire on her part for a home on Staten Island.

The building later became a prominent part of St. Vincent’s Hospital



New Dorp, Staten Island



St. George, Staten Island

 

 

Some history of Holtermann's Bakery from Ken Holtermann

 

My grandfather and two other brothers (my uncles) originally took the bakery over from their father
( the original owner from Germany- my great grandfather) and ran it for years and at the time when they inherited it there was a bother who was under age and was not included in the passing of the bakery at the time.

My grandfather and his two brothers sold the bakery to Hathaways bakery and Hathaway ran it for years until the other brother who then was older took the bakery back from Hathaway  and at that time could not use the name Holtermann's Bakery as that was the deal with Hathaway's so the bakery was called The Arthur Kill Road Bakery for 10 years ( as per the arrangement with the Hathaway sale) and then  changed the name back to Holtermann's Bakery after the 10 year period and that is the way it remains today.

The old bakery used to be on Center Street in Richmondtown, Staten Island when it was purchased by Hathaway's,  then my uncle moved it to its present location on Arthur Kill Road where it is today.

 


Holtermann Family 1887

 

 

 


Wolf Meat Market 3056 Richmond Terrace Mariners Harbor

 


Tottenville Firehouse

 

The Jolly Trolley
A very popular diner of the 50's & 60's

After much discussion and debate, it seems to be the consensus that the Jolly Trolley Diner actually moved from one location to another. Seems to be that originally it was located in an area around Clove Road and Victory Blvd. In the 60's it was forced to move because of the building of a drug store on Clove and Victory. Its location in the 60's was Hylan Blvd. somewhere in the Old Town area, with a possible address of 1429 Hylan Blvd.

There is still talk of a second diner right next to it called the "Loose Caboose" but I need more info on that.

from a visitor -
The Jolly Trolley was definitely founded at the Clove Road location - not far in (toward the SI Expressway) from Victory Blvd.  The owner was a friend of my father's and we had many delicious burger suppers there.  The owner's name may have been Bill Lubin - that's a name I seem to remember from at least 60 years ago.  The Trolley was very successful but the interior was small - didn't hold many people, so the Loose Caboose was added.

If anyone has any info or hopefully photos of these two diners please write to this website so we can share with all.

 

 

              

                   1893 NSFD Castleton Fire Patrol

 

 

 

Story about Weissglass
 

Our drivers resorted to delivering milk by rowboats during one of the worst storms to hit the Oakwood and Midland Beach areas in years. The storm referred to was caused by the exact right combination of extremely high tides, hurricane winds and full moon. Many families in this area were evacuated and were taken to the Oakwood Heights Community Church on Guyon Avenue. We supplied them with their milk needs. Parts of the shore area, between the beaches and Hylan Blvd. were flooded for as much as one half mile from the beach

 

                                                                    

 



The Original Staten Island Hospital
(Samuel R. Smith's Infirmary)



Smith's Infirmary as it stands today

                                  (Photo courtesy of Richard Nickel, Jr.)

Staten Island - not part of New York City until 1898 - had no private hospital until 1861, when the Richmond County Medical Society established the infirmary and named it after a local doctor (Dr. Samuel Russell Smith)' who devoted himself to the poor.'' It occupied a succession of buildings near the present Ferry Terminal, until in 1887 it acquired a hilly seven-acre site south and inland of the Terminal area on an irregular block bounded by Castleton, Webster and Brook Avenues and Pine Street.

Alfred E. Barlow, the architect, designed a rectangular red-brick chateau with four round corners topped by conical roofs. The castle imagery was reinforced by the high basement, mostly without windows, the small main entrance, and the projection of the upper floor out onto brick corbelling - as if the Infirmary's defenders were at the ready to pour boiling oil onto attacking Vikings.

The basic form of the Infirmary was apparently inspired by that of the New York Cancer Hospital (1885) in Manhattan, still standing at West 105th and Central Park West, where the ''corner less'' rooms were thought to reduce the collection of germs.

Speeches at its opening in the summer of 1890 described the Infirmary as the ''pride of the island,'' the county's ''greatest charity,'' with a ''splendid site and stately proportions.''


 

 

             

               Getting a Haircut on Greeley Avenue
                     Joseph Perrotta is the barber
                       His son Joseph is the boy in the back with the glasses

 

             

                                                                                                  

 

 

Campo's Market - New Dorp Lane
 

Real Estate Ad from 1909

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

The NY Times
July 22, 1906

 

 

 

 


Old S.I. Newspapers

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A few words from me . . .

Its been almost 6 years since I first published this website. There have been well over 190,000 visitors so far. Many thanks to all, for the positive feedback to my website. It has been a labor of love, though at times I wanted to give it all up, but then I receive an email from someone who was raised in Mt. Loretto and she thanks me for the help in finding her records from the old burnt out church, or from a lady whose husband has Alzheimer's but remembers the photos she showed him from this website. Whenever I
wanted to give up on this website, I received much encouragement from the visitors and that kept me going. The memories page grows more each day.
Please keep emailing me your memories of your
days on Staten Island. I promise to include them as
fast as possible. If anyone has old photos of Staten Island, I would love to include them on this website.
I really need some photos from the 1950's and the1960's

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Its been six years that my website has been up,
 would like to share with you some of the comments
from visitors all over the country. . . .

 

      I learn something new each time I come back to this site.
      It is truly a labor of love and I thank you for that - from Cheryleann,
      Staten Island, New York

Find myself looking at this site for hours
Gary - from Allyn, Washington

 

It's nice to read all of the comments and memories of so many people.
Patricia - from Queensbury, New York

I love this site, it brings back such wonderful memories. Thank you
Suzanne - from Phoenix, Arizona

It's a great site! I'm enjoying my trip back home (it will always be home to me)
Linda - The Villages, Florida

I love this site. I was trying to remember some of the places I went when I was a child and they were listed on your site.
Susan - from St. Johnsbury, Vermont

I was born and raised on Staten Island and love, love, love this web site. I will always be a native Staten Islander and hate to see how much the Island has changed. I understand progress, but this web site is fantastic. It certainly brings back many fantastic memories of the Island and why I loved it so. Thanks for the labor of love!
Eugene - from Treasure Island, Florida

Memories, memories and more memories.
Can't stop smiling.
Christine - from Walterboro, South Carolina

Wonderful, brings back fond memories of the greatest place in the world to grow up.
Richard - from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Great site, I come back to it every few weeks
Tommy - from Staten Island, New York

This has made my day. I was born on Staten Island and lived there for 45 years before moving to Montana.
Kristine - from Whitefish, Montana

Great site. Have been coming here for a few years now and am enjoying all the additions you have made it it.
Donald - from West Melbourne, Florida


You brought tears to my eyes. Wonderful memories!
Derba - from Branchburg, New Jersey

This is so cool I can not wait to show my parents this site.
Colleen - from Hudson Falls, New York

The site is terrific and brings back so many memories. Please keep it alive so everyone can see how beautiful the island was.
Ruth - from Thornton, Colorado

I enjoy every word of this website
Jorge - from Santiago- CHILE- South America

Long overdue and a great website to recall your heritage.
Edward - from Richmond Hill, Georgia

Love this walk down the Memory Lane called Staten Island.
Karen - from San Antonio, Texas

Wonderful! I am longing for the old Island I knew and loved!
Anne - from Port Jervis, New York

I cannot believe the amount of time and energy put into this site. Wonderful!
Gary - from Staten Island, New York

 

 

And would you believe it—right here on Staten Island witches were punished at the whipping-post. About 1710, a whipping-post was established at Cucklestown (Richmondtown), and was located on the elevation, between St. Andrew's Church and the roadway leading up the steep side of Richmond Hill Road, on or near the spot where the public school building now stands.Men and women were charged with " bargaining with the devil, and possessing power to torment whomsoever they pleased." Many believed that the devil was very much like a man in form, only that he had wings like a bat, a tail, cloven feet, and horns; that he was able to confer great power on witches, enabling them by infernal arts to raise storms, sink ships, afflict children with fits, kill cattle, and set chairs and tables to dancing; that they had power to make themselves invisible, creep through keyholes, ride on broomsticks through the air, and that it was a special delight to hold their orgies in thunderstorms.

 

 

 

 

 
 
Home Historic Timeline Famous Islanders S.I. Memories S.I. in Film North Shore South Shore East Shore West Shore South/Midland Beach Stapleton Travis Old S.I. Ads Transportation S.I. Theaters Books on S.I. S.I. Military Old Town Names S.I. Advance Story S.I. Tragedies S.I. Eateries Contact Us Guestbook

 

This site was last updated 11/22/10