Tottenville: The Town the Oyster Built
A Staten Island Community, its People, Industry, and Architecture
By Barnett Shepherd
Book Masters, Inc.
Reviewed by Angie Mangino
Rating: 5 stars
Having personally researched the history of Tottenville since 1998 for my own work in progress book, I am so impressed with this book by Barnett Shepherd that I wish I could give more than the maximum 5 stars for a review.
The last publication I read that has such an inclusive look at this southernmost point in New York City was self-published by Benjamin Franklin Joline back in 1950. However, Joline ended his book in 1898, the year Staten Island became a part of New York City! Until now, only snippets here and there covered over a hundred years after of Tottenville’s history, never before consolidated in one book.
Shepherd, founder of the Preservation League of Staten Island in 1977, and Executive Director of the Staten Island Historical Society from 1981 to 2000 has achieved this, and magnificently so, recounting the history covered by Joline and adding to it, bringing it into the twentieth century. Using Tottenville’s architectural heritage as a base and setting the stage with the historical events happening in the area, Shepherd introduces the reader to the town and its industry with magnificent photos and brief introduction to some of the people in Tottenville.
“In 2007 the Staten Island Foundation awarded the Preservation League and the Tottenville Historical Society grants to cover the research and publication costs of this book.”
Tottenville: The Town the Oyster Built is a much overdue and excellent look into Tottenville’s history.