Tottenville Pool: A man made oasis provided by New York City

Posted by Anthony Licciardello on Sunday, May 13th, 2012 at 8:34am.

You may recall the reasoning behind the naming of the neighborhood Tottenville, if you have read the historical information we have provided you with on our website. The neighborhood was given its name because of a post office which stood in the area.  In 1861, it was given the name Tottenville Post Office, after the first postmaster, John Totten. There were two factors in tottenville_pool_1_400giving the neighborhood the name of Tottenville.  First of all, the post office served the neighborhood. Second of all, the Totten family had grown to be quite prominent on Staten Island.

The Totten family was not the only well-known family on Staten Island. In fact, during the end of the seventeenth century, many people came to this Island from France and came to be recognized figures among Staten Islanders.  The French immigrants came to America because they were fleeing their country. This was due to the fact that King Henry IV had revoked the Edict of Nantes in 1685 and put the Edict of Fontainbleau in place. The first edict had granted French Protestants civil rights, while the second revoked them and basically stated that if you had any religious beliefs that were not shared with those of the king, you would be killed.  As you can imagine, a number of these French Huguenots traveled elsewhere-many to Staten Island.

One of these French Huguenots was Andre Joline, who came to Staten Island in 1694.  About a century later, his descendants bought much land in the neighborhood of Tottenville.  One of these descendants had a large tract of land between Sprague Avenue and Central Avenue, from about Amboy Road, all the way down to the water.  A later descendent, William Manee Joline, married Ann Totten, who was a direct descendent of the original immigrant who came to Long Island, New York from Tottenham, London, England, and whose great-great- grandson settled on Staten Island.

The land on which this family resided for many years was eventually cut up and sold in smaller parcels as new housing began to be erected.  They are remembered, however, in the name of the eastern stretottenville_pool_2_640et which bordered their property. This was Central Avenue, whose name was changed to Joline Avenue.

By the end of the 1960s, construction began on section of the original land. This parcel of land was at the southwestern corner of the intersection of Hylan Boulevard and Joline Avenue.  In the early years of the next decade, the New York City Board of Estimate assigned this land to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, so that it could be operated as a park.  Today, the park is officially known as Tottenville Pool. Residents who live in the area, however, sometimes refer to it as Joline Pool.

The construction that was done in the late 1960s was on two pools which are still located at the site. The two pools are located outdoors and are not open during the winter months.  The first pool, which is an Intermediate Pool, is 75 feet by 60 feet.  The second pool is a Wading Pool.  This pool is 24 feet by 24 feet.  tottenville_pool_3_400Both pools are open between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.  They are closed between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., however, so that they can be cleaned.  In 1993, more construction occurred at this site.  This project added a playground to the park, which was on a new parcel of land adjacent to the site.  Today, the park is roughly two acres in size.  During the months that the pool area is open, swimming programs are offered. The playground portion of the park is open year-round.

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