Staten Island History

A look back at history across Staten Island and New York City. Get fast facts about Staten Island, and the events that shaped what the borough is today.

Found 34 blog entries about Staten Island History.

historic home on Carrol Pl. Staten IslandBetween the years of 1835 and 1987, dozens of buildings were constructed at the northern tip of Staten Island. Over the years, architectural styles changed and the buildings began to stand out due to their individuality. Having been well-kept over the years, a hearing was held by the Landmarks Preservation Commission to designate the buildings, as well as their boundaries, as a Historic District. On July 19, 1994, the historic district was established as the St. George/New Brighton Historic District.

Several of the buildings in the district had been demolished over the years, leaving some scattered vacant lots.  However, seventy-six of the St. George/New Brighton Historic District's original buildings are still intact. The designated buildings occupy

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Home on Carrol Pl. Staten Island St. GeorgeThe latter half of the nineteenth century saw the popularization of Colonial Revival architecture, which lasted half-way into the next century.  In 1890, Edward A. Sargent constructed a Colonial Revival-style home, at 103 St. Marks Place, for broker Frederick L. Rodewald.  A few years later, in 1894, the home that he had constructed in the Gothic Revival-style at 83 St. Marks Place was extended and altered much, where it became a Colonial Revival-style home.  At the turn of the century, between 1905 and 1906, lumber merchant George W. Allen had four of these types of houses constructed.  Samuel R. Brick, Jr. built the first three, which were located at 29, 31, and 35 St. Marks Place.  The last was designed by Edward A. Sargent and was located at 27 St.

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Home on WesterveltFrom 1880 until the turn of the century, the Shingle Style had become increasingly popular.  These houses were influenced by the English Colonial, which were common from the early seventeenth century up until the middle of the nineteenth century.  From 1886 until 1907, one dozen Shingle Style houses were constructed within the St. George/New Brighton Historic District. The first of these houses, built in the first couple of years for the wealthy banker, Anson Phelps Stokes, were located at 48, 52, and 56 St. Marks Place.  Three more houses were built for the same man in 1890 at 7-8, 9-10, and 11 Phelps Place. These houses were designed by architect Douglas Smyth.

Edward A. Sargent, the well-known architect of whom we spoke earlier, designed a few of

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St. Marks Staten Island St. George Historic DistrictMany houses are solely vernacular in architectural style.  Four of these, which were built between the last half of the nineteenth century and the first quarter of the twentieth century, are located within the St. George/New Brighton Historic District.  The first home to be built in the District using local resources was erected between 1853 and 1874.  It is uncertain whether this home, which is located at 17 Carroll Place, was built for Henry P. Robertson, who owned the oldest house in the District, or James Wilkinson, who was part of Crabtree & Wilkinson silk dyeworks.

The next three Vernacular-style homes were built during the early twentieth-century.  In 1902, Norman Young built a home at 226 Hamilton Avenue for George Gregory.  It has not been

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outerbridge_400

On April 30, 1921, the Port of New York Authority was established as a bi-state authority between New York and New Jersey. Two years later, the port had announced that two bridges would be constructed under their authority between Staten Island and New Jersey. The bridges would connect northwestern Staten Island with Elizabeth, New Jersey and southwestern Staten Island with Perth Amboy, New Jersey. The bridge gave Staten Island's South Shore Residents and commercial business access to New Jersey, which would ultimately lead to demise of Tottenville to Perth Amboy Ferry in the 1950's.Today, the ferry terminal is abandoned, but still intact at the foot of the Tottenville Train Station.

The southwestern bridge was given a steel cantilever design by

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Staten Island Ferry Terminal

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Staten Island was connected to Manhattan, Long Island, and New Jersey by ten different ferries that operated from different locations on the Island.  This all ended in 1886, when St. George became the sole ferry terminal on Staten Island.  By 1897, passengers had to pay five cents to take the one-hour ride to Lower Manhattan.  In 1975, and again in 1990, the cost of the ferry became twenty-five cents and fifty cents, respectively.  By 1997, however, the fare had ended and the ferry became, and remains, free for commuters and sightseers.  The Staten Island Ferry Terminal is currently the main terminus for Staten Island's ferries, its Railroad line, and many of the local buses.The Staten Island Ferry Heading to Staten Island

There are four ramps at the

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The Goethals Bridge, Staten Island

 

 Gothals Bridge from Staten Island

For years, ferries serviced the island, taking residents from Staten Island to New Jersey and vice versa.  During the late 1860's, the idea of a bridge connecting the two was introduced.  In 1890, a railroad bridge was constructed, connecting Elizabethport, New Jersey and Staten Island's Howland Hook Marine Terminal.  After the First World War, which lasted from 1914 to 1918, the demand rose for a bridge that could accommodate automobile traffic.  By 1923, the New York and New Jersey Bridge and Tunnel Commission announced that they would be constructing two bridges that would serve such a purpose; one connecting northwestern Staten Island to New Jersey and the other connecting southwestern Staten Island.

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The Bayonne Bridge, looking west

During the early part of the twentieth century, residents requested that a bridge be built which would simplify the commute into Bayonne, New Jersey from Staten Island. The governors of both New York and New Jersey accepted their request and sanctioned the Port of New York Authority to have the bridge built. On September 18, 1928, construction commenced, using the designs of Othmar H. Ammann and Cass Gilbert. By November of 1931, construction was complete and the bridge opened on the 15th of that month in the neighborhood of Port Richmond, making it the longest steel-arch bridge in the world. Over the years, of course, longer bridges have been built, but it is still currently in the top five, being the fourth-longest in the world and the second

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Staten Island's gateway to the east.

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge looking tward Ft. Wadsworth

Ten years before the consolidation of New York in 1898, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad had announced that the North Shore Railroad in Staten Island would have a railroad switch which would lead to a tunnel across the Narrows and into Brooklyn. Financial difficulties, however, prohibited the project from being put in motion. In 1910, another Verrazano-Narrows Bridge Night Viewattempt at a crossing along the Narrows was considered-this time as a 260-foot-high bridge. The military dismissed this idea, as they believed the bridge would be a nuisance during wartime.

By 1913, another plan for a tunnel was proposed. After being accepted, the project was started in 1923. However, just like the first tunnel attempt, this project was discontinued due

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Spanish Colonial in StapletonBetween the years of 1919 and 1931, a handful of houses were built in many different architectural styles. Most of which were of the Arts & Crafts-style, though there were a few others. 131 Marion Avenue, a Colonial Revival-style house, was built in 1922 for Edward W. Thompson, using the designs of Otto Loeffler. That same year, Mediterranean Revival-style 173 St. Paul's Avenue was built for surgeon Dr. Charles L. Reigi, using the designs of James Whitford. In 1923, a house was constructed using the designs of architect A. Schoeler for Emma and Clarence E. Brady. This house was built in the Foursquare-style, with features of Mediterranean Revival-style architecture.

Of the remaining Arts & Crafts style houses, the first was built in 1919 at 36

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