If you ever took notice of the brand of pencils you used to use in school, there's a good chance you saw the name Faber on at least one of them. These types of pencils had become quite popular in the nineteenth century. Their origin, however, began during the prior century. In 1761, German cabinet maker Kasper Faber began to manufacture his own brand of pencil in Stein, a town located near Nuremberg, Bavaria. After Kasper Faber's death in 1784, his son, Anton, took over the company. At this time, he changed the company's name to the A.W. Faber Company. Soon after, the company's name came to be quite prominent.
You're probably wondering why you're being given the history of pencils, but quite frankly, they played a significant role in the history of one of our borough's parks. You see, Anton Wilhelm Faber's grandson, Eberhard Faber had been taught by his father, Georg Leonhard Faber, to become a lawyer. He soon came to realize, however, that he had no interest in that line of work. In 1849, he traveled to New York City, where you entered the family business and opened a branch of the A.W. Faber Company. By February 5, 1857, he was legally naturalized. Three years later, he constructed a factory which manufactured the lead pencils. This building, which was located in Manhattan, was the first manufactory of its kind in the United States.
I bet now you're wondering why we're talking about Manhattan, while we told you that the history has to do with Staten Island. The fact of the matter is that Eberhard Faber originally made his home on Staten Island, in the neighborhood of Port Richmond. This is where he spent his last days, just before passing away on March 2, 1879. This man was not significant based solely on the fact that he created the first American lead pencil manufactory; he had figured out a way to produce pencils with a higher quality and at a faster rate. This enabled the business to grow immensely. Wealthy though he was, the property on which his home sat was less than four and a half acres in size. Nonetheless, the site of Eberhard Faber's home is quite popular today.
In 1906, the City of New York purchased the site. It was later transferred over to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, in 1928. After some time, the site was finally opened on July 15, 1932 as the Faber Park and Pool. It is located to the northwest of the intersection of North Street and Richmond Terrace, right below the Kill Van Kull. Today, the park includes a basketball court and a playground, in addition to the pool, which is probably obvious from the park's name. The pool is 140 feet by 76 feet. It is open during the day from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., and again from 4 p.m. until 7p.m. The pool is closed for an hour in between for cleaning of the pool.
Faber Park and Pool, along with many other parks in New York City, participates in a monthly event known as the BeFitNYC Free First Monday. The event allows visitors to utilize the Recreation Centers in selected parks for free during the first Monday of each month. From Monday until Friday, the Recreation Facility is open from 11 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. On Saturdays, it is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. During the remaining days of the month, many other programs and events occur here, such as after school programs to teach children how to swim.