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Tottenville History

Tottenville History 1899-1909 July 2016

Hope your July 4 celebration was a good one!       


Now that I have all the research for the Tottenville book organized out of boxes & into files, I completed the book outline, beginning work on the book proposal. 

I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

-          Angie


Did you know?

In 1899, Tottenville's first library opened at 206 Johnson Ave.


NY City Mayors

Robert Van Wyck January 1, 1898 - December 31, 1901     

Seth Low January 1, 1902 - December 31, 1903       

George B. McClellan, Jr. January 1, 1904 - December 31, 1909

NY State Governors

Theodore Roosevelt October 27, 1858 - January 6, 1919

Benjamin Barker Odell January 1, 1901 - December 31, 1904

Frank W. Higgins January 1, 1905 - December 31, 1906

Charles Evans Hughes January 1, 1907 - October 6, 1910

US Presidents

William McKinley March 4, 1897 - September 14, 1901

Theodore Roosevelt September 14, 1901 - March 4, 1909

William Howard Taft March 4, 1909 - March 4, 1913


Historical Setting 1899-1909 in the US & in the world


·         President McKinley signs Treaty of Paris that ended the Spanish-American War. US acquires Philippines, Puerto Rico & Guam.

·         Henry Bliss becomes 1st automobile fatality in the US (NY.) 

·         J S Thurman patents motor-driven vacuum cleaner.


·         The United States and the United Kingdom sign treaty for Panama Canal.

·         Hawaii became a US territory.

·         US Steel Corporation organizes.

·          New York City Mayor Robert Anderson Van Wyck breaks ground for a new underground "Rapid Transit Railroad" that would link Manhattan and Brooklyn.

·         US Congress pass an act authorizing a civil code and government for the territory of Alaska after gold discoveries bring lawlessness and disorder to the area.

·         Firestone Tire & Rubber Company founded.

·         After 4 years of work, first section of New York subway opens.

·         A German engineer patents front-wheel drive for automobiles.

·         New Ellis Island Immigration station completed costing $1.5 million.


·         Pierpont Morgan forms US Steel Corp

·         New York becomes 1st state requiring automobile license plates ($1 fee)

·         Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President of the United States (1889-93), dies in Indianapolis at 67

·         Sep 14th Pres William McKinley, dies in Buffalo, after being shot 8 days earlier by anarchist, Leon Czolgosz


·         5 workers killed on explosion during IRT subway construction (NYC)

·         Mt Pelee erupts, wipes out St Pierre, Martinique, kills 30,000

·         US buys concession to build Panama canal from French for $40 million

·         Pres Teddy Roosevelt became 1st US chief executive to ride in a car

·         Brooklyn toymaker Morris Michton names teddy bear after US President Teddy Roosevelt


·         Dr Harry Plotz discovers vaccine against typhoid (NYC)

·         Ford Motors under Henry Ford incorporates

·         Pepsi Cola company forms

·         Cardinal Giuseppe Sarto of Venice elected Pope Pius X

·         Lyceum Theater (New Lyceum) opens at 149 W 45th St NYC

·         New Amsterdam Theater opens at 214 W 42nd St NYC

·         Nobel for physics awarded to Pierre and Marie Curie

·         The Wright brothers attempt to fly the Wright Flyer for the first time at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina


·         Ice cream cone makes its debut

·         Boston Herald again refers to NY baseball club as Yankees, when it reports "Yankees take 2," Yankee name not official until 1913

·         Liberty Theater opens at 234 W 42nd St NYC

·         First New York subway opens - IRT (Interborough Rapid Transit), fare set at one nickel (Bkln bridge-145 & Bdwy)

·         St Louis police try a new investigation method – fingerprints

·         The first New Year's Eve celebration is held in Times Square, then known as Longacre Square, in New York, New York.


·         Albert Einstein introduces his theory of special relativity

·         Mar 17th Eleanor Roosevelt (20) marries Franklin D. Roosevelt (23) later 32nd US President in New York, & given away by her uncle, 26th President Theodore Roosevelt

·         Oct 4th 30th US President Calvin Coolidge (33) weds Grace Anna Goodhue (26) in Burlington, Vermont


·         Willis Carrier receives a US patent for the world's first air conditioner

·         San Francisco earthquake and fire kills nearly 4,000 while destroying 75% of the city 

·         US Congress passes the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act; these laws owe much to the expose journalism of the period (Upton Sinclair's 'The Jungle' in particular)

·         US President Theodore Roosevelt (1st American) awarded Nobel Peace Prize


·         Researcher George Soper publishes the results of his investigation into recent typhoid outbreaks in the New York area and announces that Mary Mallon [Typhoid Mary] is the likely source of the outbreak

·         Plaza Hotel (5th Av & 59th Str, NY) opens

·         A downturn in the stock market leads to a run on the dollar; US President Roosevelt will be forced to call on financier JP Morgan to help manage the financial crisis

·         Belasco Theater opens at 111 W 44th St NYC

·         Panic of 1907: A run on Knickerbocker Trust Company stock sets events in motion that will lead to a depression.

·         Oklahoma becomes the United States 46th state


·         1st time, ball signifying new year dropped at Times Square

·         Henry Ford introduces the Model T car (costs $825)

·         Aug 27th Lyndon B. Johnson, born in Stonewall Texas, (D) 36th US President (1963-1969), (d. 1973)

·         Jun 24th Grover Cleveland, 22nd & 24th US President (1885-89, 93-97), dies at 71


·         1st subway car with side doors goes into service (NYC)

·         William Howard Taft inaugurated as 27th US president during 10" snowstorm

·         Queensboro Bridge opens, linking Manhattan & Queens

·         Wright Brothers deliver 1st military plane to the army

·         Army Air Corps formed as Army takes 1st delivery from Wright Brothers

·         1st Lincoln head pennies minted

·         Construction of US navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, begins

·         Colored moving pictures demonstrated at Madison Square Garden, NYC

Some Highlights in Tottenville 1899-1909

1900 - The Tottenville Copper Co. (later Nassau Smelting) began.

In 1900, the building of Nassau Smelting & Refining Company’s plant occurred on the Richmond Valley line of Tottenville.  Western Electric bought the smelting works (Tottenville Copper Company) was by in 1931, another result of Depression times.  In 1971, it became a metal recycling plant and renamed Nassau Recycling Corporation

“STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- More than 38 acres of property in Richmond Valley -- that once housed the former Nassau Smelting and Refinery site -- has been sold for $30 million to investors who plan to develop the property as a mixed-use development”


1904 - The Tottenville Branch Library becomes the first Carnegie library on Staten Island.

“The Tottenville branch dates to 1904 and it is the oldest and southernmost location on Staten Island. Nestled in a quiet community, the branch has served generations of readers from many of the same families.”

The Staten Island Transcriptbecame increasingly important in the 1890’s.It told of the opening of the Tottenville Library through the work of the Philemon Library & Historical Society. The society, first called the Philemon Club, was founded in 1897 with its primary goal being the attainment of a Carnegie grant for a public library in Tottenville, which was, in fact, received in 1904.

1904 - St. Louis Academy, a private school for girls, opens on Main St.

“Our Lady Help of Christians School was established in 1904 in a convent chapel on Main Street, Tottenville.  Marianite Sisters of the Holy Cross staffed the school.  The need for a larger Catholic education facility in the fast-growing community was soon realized and in 1910 a permanent parochial school opened on Yetman Avenue directly behind the church.  Beginning in 1923, children were taught by the Presentation Sisters of Staten Island.”

1905 - P.S. 1 opens on Summit St. The old school building, previously called Bay View Academy and Westfield District School No. 5, is renamed P.S. 1 Annex

In 1878 Westfield School District No. 5 erected a new school building at Yetman and Academy Avenues to meet a growing population.  The two-story building had extra-large blackboards, high ceilings, sliding glass doors and an impressive view of Raritan Bay from the upper floor.  It was appropriately named "Bay View Academy." It is currently the oldest public school building still in use on Staten Island.   The school was enlarged in 1896 to accommodate one of the three high school departments on Staten Island. The current elementary school, P.S. 1, 58 Summit St., was built in 1905-6.

1909 - Masonic Lodge, Huguenot Lodge #381 lays cornerstone on Main St.

“The cornerstone for the Masonic Temple for Huguenot Lodge #381 on Main Street south of Amboy Road was laid with great fanfare on June 12, 1909. There was a gathering of hundreds with marching bands, speechmaking and pageantry. The Huguenot Lodge was named for French Protestants forced to leave their country because of religious intolerance who settled in Staten Island’ s south shore in the 1700s.”


At the Conference House in July 2016                         

      Tues/Wed/Thurs          July 12-14, 19-21, 26-28            Children’s Summer Workshops


            Saturday                      July 30 (Biddle House)           SI OutLOUD reading of Moby Dick

At the Tottenville Library in July 2016             

July 5, July 12,July 19, July 26

Under a Shady Tree Storytime

3pm • Free • Ages 3-12


July 6, July 13,July 20,July 27

Wonderful Wednesdays

3pm • Free • 4+                                                  


July 7, July 14,July 21,July 28

Baby & Me

11am • Free • Ages 0-1.5                                                          

July 8, July 15,July 22,July 29

Toddler Time

10:15am • Free • Ages 1.5-3

July 18

Super Duper Dance Party

3pm • Free • Ages 3-12

July 25

Stuffed Animal Sleepover

7pm • Free • Ages 3-12

Tottenville History 1898 June 2016

June 2016
With 8 boxes of research done and only 3 more to transfer to my book writing software,  I’m experiencing progress in the completion of my book on the history of Tottenville. Making a connection with a university press showing interest in a book proposal for potential publication is added encouragement! 

Until that happy day when this long ongoing process allows the finished book, I will continue to share with you, my patient, & supportive readers, a glimpse of both the past and present of this town called Tottenville that we love.

Did you know?

January 1, 1898 was the date of the incorporation of the five boroughs into the one city of New York.   
Robert Anderson Van Wyck was the first Mayor of New York City after the consolidation.
Frank Swett Black was the 32 Governor of New York State from 1897 to 1898.
William McKinley, Jr. was the 25 President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1897, until his assassination in September 1901, six months into his second term.  
Historical Setting in 1898 in the US & in the world
With the explosion and sinking in the harbor of Havana, Cuba of the USS Maine on February 15, suspicion of Spain helped initiate the Spanish-American War. During the war,Teddy Roosevelt & his Rough Riders charged up San Juan Hill. When the Treaty of Paris ended the war, the United States acquired the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam.
President McKinley signs the Organic Act to annex Hawaii.
Pierre and Marie Curie discover radium.
Will Kellogg invents Corn Flakes. 
Some Highlights in Tottenville in 1898


From 1840 to around 1900 the cultivation, harvest, shipment, and sales of oysters were important in Tottenville. Because of this, shipbuilding grew in the area.
In the 1880s and 1890s, Tottenville was thriving as an oyster town.

Atlantic Terra Cotta Works

Some artisans of the Perth Amboy Terra Cotta Company left to found the Atlantic Terra Cotta Works in Tottenville.

Businesses in Tottenville

When I was a reporter for the Staten Island Register, I wrote two articles about Tottenville businesses of the past as part of the newspaper’s series on the history of Staten Island. The paper’s former News Editor, the late Bill Franz, a journalist of the highest caliber, wrote many historical articles, and I am forever grateful for the gift to be under his mentorship as I began researching and writing about Tottenville history.  

Much of who I am as a journalist today developed from his teaching the importance of in-depth research to get all the facts in order to back up my words with substance and impartiality. By doing so, he helped to make me a strong writer. My debt to him is immeasurable.
Here are those two articles to share a sense of the business scene at the time:
September 12, 2000 Staten Island Register

August 28, 2001 Staten Island Register

Our Lady Help of Christians
February 18 was the formal incorporation of the Roman Catholic Parish of Our Lady Help of Christians, with Fr. Byrnes the first Pastor. On February 28, the new congregation bought and paid for the corner property of Amboy Road and Yetman Avenue. The laying of the cornerstone was on June 12th, with Archbishop Michael A. Corrigan blessing the new church at its formal dedication on October 9.
On Sunday, June 5, 2016 from 11am-5pm at the Conference House, don’t miss the South Shore Artists Group Annual Art Show and Sale
Free admission
Rain Date: Sunday, June 12th
South Shore Artists Group:          

The Years in Tottenville History

January 2014
The Years in Tottenville History
Sharing Tottenville History with you by month in the past year’s blog posts has been interesting for me, as I hope it has been for you, my readers. 
Wishing each of you the very best of the new year, I am devoting this month’s blog post into a sharing of my writing plan, both for the blog, and for myself for 2014.
For the new year, this blog will expand from This Month in Tottenville history, to This Year in Tottenville history, with each month exploring the sequential years and decades from 1898, the year the five boroughs consolidated to become New York City.  I hope to make it more cohesive and interesting for you this way.
As I put together some highlights of the year each month,
I need and appreciate your help!
Since the Council on the Arts & Humanities Staten Island (COAHSI) awarded me a Premier Grant for a History of Tottenville workshop held September 1999 at Our Lady Help of Christians, I went on in 2000 to hold an additional workshop at the Tottenville Branch of the New York Public Library. 
Both of these workshops were interactive, where people attending gave me so much information, questions, and details from their memories after I shared what I had uncovered, that I knew I needed to write a book on Tottenville to capture the passion they shared with me.
Life had other plans for me in my personal life.  It was necessary for me to put the writing of the book on hold, but that does not mean I ever gave up on my plan to write it.  My 2014 writing plan is to devote more focused time to writing it, giving myself a personal deadline of the end of this year for its completion.
In times of struggle, what doesn’t destroy us makes us stronger.  After these last few years, I hope I’ve achieved enough strength to not get any more strengthening lessons and meet that deadline.  

Here is where YOU come in.

Please add your comments to each blog post. 
·       Did you learn something new?
·       Was it interesting to you?
·       Do you know something related to it that I failed to mention?
·       Do you have any questions?

Your comments will keep the passion of the interactive workshops I held continuing.  A good writer does not write for self, but for readers.  

I want this book to live up to its working title of Tottenville Speaks. So speak to me.  I’m listening.
What better way for me to learn what you find important and interesting in the history of Tottenville than for me to have your comments!

Holiday Edition 2013

With Thanksgiving late in November this year, and Chanukah falling on that day, this holiday season felt like a whirlwind season with Christmas now arriving.
I wanted to be sure to get this holiday edition out to wish you joy and peace.  Whatever your holiday tradition may be, they all speak to our being there for each other to embody and experience the meaning of the holidays.

Some years ago, Our Lady Help of Christians Church gave out a flyer by an Unknown Author that I framed to put out with my Christmas decorations each year since then.  I would like to share it again with those who may not have seen it, as both a holiday gift and an appropriate reminder at this time for all of us.
“If I decorate my house perfectly with red and green bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata, but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though hurried and tired.
Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and linens.
Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust.
But giving the gift of love will endure forever.”
Thank you for all your support in reading this blog and sharing it.  All of you were in my thoughts at Thanksgiving when I recalled my blessings, and you will be in my heart at Christmas as I celebrate the birth of the One who is an example of true love for all of us. 

Tottenville October 2013

Let me begin with my apology for the delay in this post.  October this year has been both a busy and disturbing month for me.  Please forgive my deviation from the normal monthly format to share with you what is most pressing on my mind and in my heart.  I realize now as I write, that this was what prevented me from writing this blog post on time. 
Somehow, the norm just did not seem enough to me, and I kept putting off writing it from a self-paralysis that told me it just would not be relevant this October.  Since I became a professional writer, I strive to be thorough in my research, accurate with my facts, and write only that which I can be proud of composing.  As a freelance journalist, I believe that I have both the responsibility, and the freedom, to do just that.  The writing comes from both my mind and my heart, and I refuse to tolerate any separation of the two.  Deadlines are paramount to me, and when I found myself ignoring one with this post, I knew I had to figure out what was holding me back from writing it.
October 29 was the one-year anniversary of the devastation of Sandy. 
Remembering that day is depressing enough, but the reality that one year later
--so many on Staten Island, and in other areas on the East Coast, are not in homes of their own, as well as that
--the physical protection against anything this winter may bring our way this year is inadequate in my opinion,
absolutely infuriates me.
The storm made me sad.  My heart broke with all the loss of life and property.
Those who pulled together, then, and those that continue to this day to help, comfort my heart.  Together we will get through this.
However, if I see one more commercial on television as to how we are stronger than the storm and have beat it, I believe I may scream.
Yes, we are resilient. 
Yes, this will not destroy us.
Nevertheless, the inefficient negligence affecting the lives of those shattered by Sandy for over a year now is downright immoral in my book.
You’ve lost everything in the storm.  We want to help you.  Then came busy work followed by limbo, false promises, and shattered expectations.
Find a way to get years of your last tax statements, gather a few years’ worth of W2’s from your job, and fill out paper, after paper, after paper.  Oh, the ocean destroyed it all?  Well, make some phone calls and get new copies.  Hurry up; we need all this paperwork this week.  Something’s changed; we need this new thing in a couple of hours.  We will let you know in two weeks.  Two weeks later, it will take another two weeks, repeatedly for the course of the year.  You need to raise your house this high.  Wait, the maps are changed.  Make it this high.  Stop, if you do work on your own home we can’t help you.  We’re here to help you, dangling hope, but we’re not going to tell you when or how.
A year later, as the politicians relax in the comfort of their own homes, this ludicrous scenario continues, keeping the survivors as victims.
Well, I have my own message to send to the politicians, one that many have forgotten. 
--Those who suffered because of Sandy are not a photo opportunity.
--Remember these are people, not numbers on a piece of paper. 
--Do not shuffle them around. 
--Don’t ignore them. 
--Stop repeatedly telling them that they have to wait to get on with the rebuilding of their lives.
The many volunteer groups, individuals who are in the trenches since day one, understand that.  Habitat for Humanity understands that.  Former President and Mrs. Carter understand that.  Neighbors who help their neighbors understand that.  Charities that actually got money, necessities, and continued assistance to people hurt by Sandy understand that. 
Don’t get me started on the charities that used the storm to increase their revenue, and then didn’t do a damn thing that directly helped a Sandy survivor.  I don’t need to name them.  They know who they are, and they should be ashamed of themselves. 
How about using the money that thousands across this city and the country donated, believing that they were doing something to help their neighbors, to help their neighbors? 
If you are one of the ones who donated money to help, do you really know where the money ended up going?  If not, maybe you should ask that charity to specify what they did with your money.
Writing this is therapeutic for me.  It is something I needed to say publicly, both for my own peace of mind, and for you, my readers, to know what is really going on, if you did not already know.  However, that is not my main intention in writing it.
I ask that ALL of us “walk the talk” in whatever capacity we can. 
What action you take is your choice.  Write a letter, email, social media post.  Call a politician.  Join a volunteer group.  Call someone hurt by Sandy to ask what you can do to help with something still needed.  Find out what still needs to be done to protect our shores, and demand that the people who should be doing it actually do it before another tragedy occurs.  This storm may not have hurt you personally.  What’s to stop the next storm from doing so?
Only you can come up with the action that will best use your strengths to make progress.  It’s been over a year already.  Let’s not let this situation continue year, after year, after year because we believe that someone else is handling it.
If each one of you did just one thing to help, miracles can happen.
While those who know me personally know how essential I believe prayer is in accomplishing miracles, the God I know and love also made us the individuals that we are, wanting us to actually to do something about a bad situation to make it better.  Yes, continue praying, but please, please, don’t stop at just that.
Each week I pray with my parish community, “I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and what I have failed to do.” 
I have always taken that “what I have failed to do,” very seriously and personally.  In many situations, I believe that failing to do something that we know is the right thing to do is the bigger sin than anything that we may actually do in life.
I beg you:    Don’t leave this to someone else.  Don’t question what you as only one can do.  Do something.  The exponential results of what one does, together with others doing their part, will astound you. 

Let’s make that miracle!

This Month in the History of Tottenville September

September 2013

In last month’s blog, I shared my Register articles on Tottenville businesses in the past, which included the following:
“Dorothy Walters Johnston of Tottenville, whose ancestors include the Tottens, shared a painting of the early 1900’s that takes in Main Street from Old Broadway (now Arthur Kill Road) to the former Tottens’ dock and shows the Perth Amboy shore across the Arthur Kill, with the Lehigh Valley Railroad coal docks.

The scene was originally painted by Chester Graham, 5367Aruthur Kill Rd., who supplied the information about Tottenville as it existed in 1900.  Accompanying the article is a similar picture painted by Edith Dow in 1982.”

Someone contacted me asking for more information about Edith Dow since he had just purchased one of her works.
Ask this former investigative reporter a question related to Tottenville history, and know I’m going to snoop out the answer.  Hmm, maybe that’s a contributing factor to why my book about Tottenville history is not yet in print. 

Anyway, after making the decision now that 2014 will be the year that I stop the major research and establish a plan to get my book completed, here is what I was able to find out about Edith Dow with a stop at the Tottenville Historical Society office on Main Street and an 1974 article and 2008 obituary of her brother that I found online.

The Cranford Chronicle, on November 27, 1974 reported that the Kenilworth Art Association was sponsoring “a palette knife and brush demonstration in oils by Staten Island artist Edith Dow.”
It shares the following:
“Edith Dow, primarily a landscape artist, is self-taught.  She has participated in many shows in Staten Island, Manhattan, Long Island, and New Jersey.  She has won various awards, the most recent in May when she won three first prizes in landscape, seascape, and still life in the Electrical Industry Spring Arts Festival.  She is a member of the South Shore Artists.”
At the Tottenville Historical Society, I spoke with Betty Eisengrein, who not only knew Edith, but also could give me some insight into the woman as well as into her work.
Edith Dow’s maiden name was Lee, her father being a carpenter in Tottenville, Ted Lee.  Born in the 1930’s, Edith, now deceased, attended Tottenville High School,
Betty shared how if you asked Edith for a specific subject, she would paint it for you.  Wanting to give a thank you gift to someone who had her son Peter on their ship, she asked Edith for a painting of a sailboat and island.  Edith obliged with a perfect work of art that captured this subject for her.  Betty remembered Edith as a kind and wonderful woman in addition to being an excellent artist.

The obituary of her brother, Theodore H. Lee, mentions both of their parents: father Theodore R. Lee and Dorothy B. (Cole) Lee.  He died in 2008, pre-deceased by his sister Edith Dow.

If any readers know more about Edith Dow, please add a comment to this blog post or contact me via email at so that I can fill in the blanks as to the dates of her birth and death, as well as learning more about her work.

The original painting of Main Street by Chester Graham was part of the Main Street in Retrospect exhibit at the Tottenville Historical Society.

NOTE:   Coming October 2 @ 229 Main Street, Tottenville in honor of October being National Family History Month, their “new exhibit will spotlight some of the many individuals and families who have lived here.  Whether they inspired us, made us laugh, touched our hearts, or taught us something new, we honor all the men and women who have contributed in some capacity to make our community of families a better place to live today.”

Do you enjoy meeting people?  Can you offer a few hours of your time this month?  The Tottenville Historical Society is seeking volunteers for our exhibition space at 229 Main Street, Tottenville.  Regular days/hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11am - 4pm.  There is a great need for Wed., October 30 through Sat., November 2.

For more information or to volunteer, please email

September Events
“Dr. George C. Hubbard.—Dr. Hubbard was born in Ohio, in 1831.  He was graduated from the New York Medical University in 1859, and began the practice of medicine at Tottenville, Staten Island, with his father, the late Dr. E. W. Hubbard.

In September, 1862, he entered the Union Army as Assistant Surgeon of the One Hundred and Sixty-fifth Regiment, New York Volunteers.  He was promoted to full surgeon, with the rank of major, in 1864, and was the medical director of the army under General Banks, in the Red River expedition.  After the close of the war, he returned to Tottenville and resumed the practice of his profession.”

“1972 - In September of 1972, Tottenville High School occupied the new building at Luten Avenue.”


Note:  During my online research, I came across this video from a real estate that includes a very good historical view of Tottenville that I thought readers would enjoy.
Staten Island Tottenville Neighborhood: A Complete Overview from

This Month in the History of Tottenville August

Last month I wrote of the Tottenville Historical Society’s grand opening at 229 Main Street.

This month I am happy to report I was able to visit and view the exhibition:  MAIN STREET IN RETROSPECT.


It was great to talk with Linda Cutler Hauck, Director of the Tottenville Historical Society, and readers can count on more about the upcoming happenings in future blog posts.
The exhibition:  MAIN STREET IN RETROSPECT will continue throughout September, giving the children, when they return to school, the opportunity to learn more about Tottenville.

Parents, make sure that your children don’t miss out!

When I was a reporter for the Staten Island Register, I wrote two articles about Tottenville businesses of the past as part of the newspaper’s series on the history of Staten Island.  The paper’s former News Editor, the late Bill Franz, a journalist of the highest caliber, wrote many historical articles, and I am forever grateful for the gift to be under his mentorship as I began researching and writing about Tottenville history. 
Much of who I am as a journalist today developed from his teaching the importance of in-depth research to get all the facts in order to back up my words with substance and impartiality.  By doing so, he helped to make me a strong writer.  My debt to him is immeasurable.
Here are those two articles:
September 12, 2000 Staten Island Register
August 28, 2001 Staten Island Register

Additionally I had the pleasure to personally welcome back Pam Sindle, owner of the Scented Cottage, who has a beautifully done setup to exhibit her wonderful wares.  Gift giving just got so much easier.


It is so gratifying to me to see created something that Tottenville needs, and which although I’ve attended past discussions for many years, only now I can report it has become a reality.
I strongly encourage that you see for yourself:
229 Main Street (across the street from the Post Office)

Wednesday-Saturday, 11am -4pm.

August Events:
An article in the Staten Island Advance about Main Street
August 15, 2013
An editorial in the Staten Island Advance about Main Street
August 30, 2013
August 5, 1675
“August 5, 2011 will be 336 years ago that, British captain Christopher Billopp stakes claim to a large piece of land on Staten Island.  This is where he built the Billopp Manor.”
“In 1676, Billopp received a patent for 932 acres of land on the southern tip of Staten Island plus 30 acres of salt meadow on the west shore of Staten Island.  It is believed Billopp built his stone manor house ca. 1680.
In August 1677, Billopp accepted an appointment as Collector of Customs for Delaware.  He resided in New Castle, Delaware, while his wife remained on Staten Island managing the property.”
August 2007
“The last-known surviving ship built by the neighborhood’s now-defunct A.C. Brown & Sons Shipyard (1873-1929), the boat sailed here on its way to Maine for structural reinforcement.  The Tottenville Historical Society is playing host to Carib II and her owner, David Soule.”
August 2009 
Staten Island Advance
“Rabbi Unger’s column examines history of a Tottenville home”
   “Shelley and Neil Harwayne discovered Tottenville on Sunday ramblings in the late 70s when they’d visit the antique stores lining Amboy Road.  When they moved to their “Colonial Revival” house on Hopping Avenue in 1980, Shelley and Neil were told they had moved to ‘The Park Avenue of Tottenville.’”
They learned the house was built by a salesman named Baxter, whose family extensions through blood and marriage still run deep in town


This Month in the History of Tottenville July

July 2013

This Month in the History of Tottenville

The former Pete’s barbershop at 229 Main Street, across the street from the Post office, is the new, transformed home of the Tottenville Historical Society. 

The grand opening celebration and exhibition is 
on Saturday, August 3 from 11am to 4pm.

Regular Hours after Aug. 3:  Wednesday-Saturday, 11-4

How wonderful for them to be right here on Main Street, as a source of both information and inspiration for Tottenville residents, most especially for our children!

  “Our goal is to present public exhibits, programs, and workshops for adults and children to further the understanding of our community's history and heritage.  A second goal or, more correctly, challenge, will be to spark the revitalization of Main Street as many communities are doing across the country by providing the necessary information and tools.”

More good news is that on or about August 15 the Scented Cottage gift shop will join them on Main Street. 

Personally, I’m so very happy to be able to walk to their shop once more.  I’ve missed having the beautiful items in their shop so easily available.

July Events
“The majority of Staten Islanders were loyal to the King of England and, in fact, welcomed British soldiers when they arrived on their shores on July 4, 1776.  On July 9, 1776, nearly all adult males signed an oath of loyalty to the king.”
July 13, 1918 A.C. Brown & Sons, Tottenville, S.I., expect to have the steamer I. J. Merritt for the Merritt & Chapman Derrick & Wrecking Co. ready for launching by the end of August.”
“Decommissioned on 7 November 1945, Sable was stricken from the list of ships on the Navy Register on 28 November 1945. Sold by the Maritime Commission to H. H. Buncher Co., Pittsburgh, Pa., on 7 July 1948, as a scrap hull, she was reported as "disposed of" on 27 July 1948.”

+    Remembering Gene Drill, who died on July 2, 2008 at the age of 101.

This Month in the History of Tottenville

June 2013
This Month in the History of Tottenville
Happening this Year at the Conference House:
“Staten Island OutLOUD’s annual reading of the Declarationof Independence on the South Shore: Saturday,June 29, 2pm at the historic Conference House, 7455 Hylan Blvd, SINY10307 (southern end of Hylan Blvd, at Saterlee St)”
June 1928 at theConference House
“The restoration of the house began in October 1926 starting with the North Room (parlor) on the first floor and basic infrastructure.  The work in the basement kitchen began in June 1928.  That same year, restoration began on the main entrance and hall, the first floor South Room, and construction of the main staircase.”
While researching online for historical events that happened in June in Tottenville, I discovered the following article written by Samantha Ecker Angerame on 20th, 2011.
Well written by someone I’ve known since she was in first grade with my son, I was pleasantly surprised finding it by accident.  It is a wonderful taste of Tottenville that I’m certain my readers will enjoy!
Some June Events in Tottenville History:
June 1860
“Tottenville has been the southern terminus of the Staten Island Railway since the railway was extended to the neighborhood on June2, 1860.”
Perth Amboy Ferry
First operated in June1860 with steamboats, the first true ferryboat was the Maid of Perth, whichset sail in 1867.
1928 - TheGoethals Bridge and Outerbridge Crossing opened - June 20th.”
The Tottenville Historical Society, a non-profit corporation, was founded in 2003, and chartered in June 2005 by the NewYork State Education Department.”

This Month in the history of Tottenville

May 2013
From May Day to Memorial Day, May is a month ripe with celebration in Tottenville history.
This 1950 photograph of May Day is at P.S. 1 shows the innocence of celebrating Spring.From Tottenville Historical Society Facebook page
May Day
What is May Day?  Celebrated on May 1, the traditional dancing around a pole with ribbons to celebrate the arrival of Spring fell into decline during the Cold War era in our country.  This was because of the association with the May Day labor movement in Russia.
Mother’s Day
On the second Sunday in May, we remember our mothers.
In May, 2011 I wrote: “Today on Mother’s Day, two mothers who lived in Tottenville not only come to mind, but also touch my heart:  one famous, Dorothy Day; one known only to her family, my own mother.”
Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians
May 24th is Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians.  OLHC in Tottenville celebrates the parish Feast Day on the closest Sunday. 
Begun with a Mass, the crowning of Mary follows, with the children who made their first Holy Communion in May.  The community then enjoys a parish celebration, with food, games, and rides for the children.
The Parish Feast Day celebration this year took place on Sunday, May 19, 2013.
“Notwithstanding the inclement weather, the ball park figure was between 275-300 parishioners, their friends and neighbors who attended the Parish Feast Day.”
Here is my previous blog sharing of the May 20, 2012 OLHC Parish Feast Day.
Historical May event
“The first local draft board on Staten Island opened on May 25, 1917.”
Memorial Day
“Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.”
In the past, Tottenville’s Memorial Day Parades were an annual event.
Photo submitted by SDzubay of the Tottenville Memorial Day Parade in the 1930’s.
As we begin the Memorial Day weekend, let’s not forget remembrance as we celebrate.