Stapleton Heights Historic District SignIn March of 2004, a public hearing was held by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in which twenty-one speakers testified in favor of making an area of Staten Island a Historic District. Their area of choice was located in Stapleton Heights, along a section of St. Paul's Avenue and portions of neighboring streets. These streets include Cebra Avenue, Dyson Street, Marion Avenue, Occident Avenue, Pommer Avenue, Taxter Place, and Trossach Road. In August of that same year, they addressed their proposal to the City Council. One month later, it was accepted.

In 1807, Daniel D. Tompkins became the Governor of the State of New York. During his time as governor, Tompkins purchased over 600 acres of land on Staten Island. In 1816, the village of Tompkinsville was developed on a portion of his land. That same year, Tompkins purchased a steamboat to be used as a ferry between Tompkinsville and Manhattan's Whitehall Street. To pay for his endeavor, Tompkins had to borrow much money, using tracts of his land as collateral. In 1819, after becoming Vice President of the United States, the Panic of 1819 arose, causing extensive financial failures in the United States, including bank failures. With this, Tompkins' lenders had to call in their loans. Since he was not able to pay the loans back, his properties were put up for auction.

Caleb T. Ward, Daniel D. Tompkins' nephew, had moved to Staten Island in the early part of the nineteenth century. Here, he became involved in his uncle's business ventures, earning him wealth comparable to Tompkins'. With Daniel D. Tompkins' death in 1825, many of his children began to purchase portions of his land. His nephew, Caleb, purchased 250 acres of this land, several of which he donated years later.Historic Home St. Paul's Ave. Stapleton Heights

Between the 1830's and 1850's, Greek Revival architecture was quite popular. As a result, a pentad of altered Greek Revival houses was built during this time. While the architects of the houses are unknown, we know that they were built between 1830 and 1855. From the earliest year built to the latest, these houses are 172 St. Paul's Avenue, which had been donated by Caleb T. Ward to St. Paul's Episcopal Church to be used as a rectory; 204 St. Paul's Avenue, which was built for James Creighton and sold to Diedericke Sudendorf in 1867, who converted it into a boarding house; 11 Marion Avenue, which most likely belonged to Caleb T. Ward; 22 Marion Avenue, which had been relocated to its current site during the late 1880's by Rosely Hanchett; and 190 Cebra Avenue, which had been built as the Stapleton Methodist Episcopal Church. The only other house built here prior to 1850 was 218 St. Paul's Avenue, a Picturesque home owned by Caleb T. Ward's son, Albert Ward.

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