This summer has been a hot one here in Tottenville, but thanks to air conditioning I’ve completed more of the book proposal, and began the draft of the book’s Introduction.
I’ll keep you posted on the progress.
Did you know?
survivor returned to Tottenville in 1912.
Island Borough Presidents
George Cromwell 1898-1913
Charles J. McCormack 1914-1915
Calvin Decker Van Name 1915-1921
William J. Gaynor 1910-1913
Ardolph L, Kline Acting Mayor Sept.1913-Dec.1913
John P. Mitchel 1914-1917
John F. Hylan 1918-1925
Horace White 1910-1911
John Alden Dix 1911-1912
William Sulzer 1913
Martin H. Glynn 1913-1914
Charles s. Whitman 1915-1918
Al Smith 1919-1920
William Howard Taft 1909 -1913
Woodrow Wilson 1913-1921
Setting 1910- 1919 in the US & in the world
The Boy Scouts of America founded
Typhoid Mary [Mary Mallon] is freed from
her first periods of forced isolation and goes on to cause several further
outbreaks of typhoid in the New York area
William H. Taft is first US president to
throw out a 1st ball at a baseball game
Father's Day celebrated for 1st time
NYC Mayor Wm J Gaynor seriously wounded
during assassination attempt
Alva Fisher patents electric washing
Aug 26th Mother Teresa, [Agnes Gonxha
Bojaxhiu], born in Skopje Ottoman Empire, nun and Founder of Missionaries of
Charity (Nobel Peace Prize 1979),(d. 1997)
Apr 21st Mark Twain [Samuel Clemens],
American author (Adventures of Huckleberry Finn), dies at 74
Aug 13th Florence Nightingale, English
nurse, dies at 90
Nov 20th Leo Tolstoy [Lev Nikolayevich],
Russian novelist (Anna Karenina, War & Peace), dies of pneumonia at 82
NY Public Library building at 5th Avenue
dedicated by President Taft
Feb 6th Ronald Reagan, born in Tampico
IL, actor (Bedtime for Bonzo) and 40th US President (R) (1981-89), Feb 6th
Ronald Reagan, Tampico IL, actor (Bedtime for Bonzo) and 40th US President (R)
(1981-89), (d. 2004)
Mar 25th Jack Ruby, killer of Lee Harvey
Oswald, born in Chicago, Illinois, (d. 1967)
Jul 16th Ginger Rogers [Virginia
McMath], American actress, dancer and singer (Top Hat, Kitty Foyle) born in
Independence, Missouri (d. 1995)
Aug 6th Lucille Ball, American
comedienne and actress (I Love Lucy, Mame), born in Jamestown, New York (d.
Arizona was admitted to the Union as the
Girl Guides (Girl Scouts) forms in
Savannah, by Juliette Gordon Low
Camp Fire Girls organization announced
by Mrs. Luther Halsey Gulick
RMS Titanic sinks at 2:27 AM off
Newfoundland as the band plays on
The Cunard liner RMS Carpathia brings
705 survivors from the RMS Titanic to New York City
District of Alaska becomes an organized
incorporated territory of the United States
Apr 12th Clara Barton, organizer
(American Red Cross), dies at 90
NYC's Grand Central Terminal opens
The 16th Amendment to the US
Constitution becomes law, providing the legal basis for the institution of a
graduated income tax
1st prize inserted into a Cracker Jack
Brooklyn Dodger's Ebbets Field opens
17th amendment provides for election of
senators by popular vote
Henry Ford institutes moving assembly
The first ship sails through the Panama
Canal, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans
Charlie Chaplin began his film career at
Keystone for $150 a week
Jan 9th Richard Nixon, born in Yorba
Linda, California, 37th President (R) of the United States (1969-74), (d.1994)
Feb 4th Rosa Parks, born in Tuskegee
Alabama, American civil rights activist (bus protestor),(d.2005)
Jul 14th Gerald R Ford, [Leslie King],
41st US VP (1973-74)/38th US President (R-1974-77), born in Omaha, Nebraska (d.
Mar 10th Harriet Tubman, abolitionist,
conductor on Underground RR, dies in NY at about 93
US Congress establishes mother's day
Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria and
his wife Sophie are assassinated in Sarajevo by young Serb nationalist Gavrilo
Princip, the act provoking WWI
Aug 18th US President Woodrow Wilson
issues "Proclamation of Neutrality"
Sep 5th US President Wilson orders the
US Navy to make its wireless stations accessible for any transatlantic
communications - even to German diplomats sending coded messages; this will
lead to the interception of the Zimmermann telegram, helping to bring the US
into the war
Oct 7th 44th US Ambassador to the United
Kingdom Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. (26) weds John F. Fitzgerald's mother, Rose
Oct 28th Jonas Salk, medical scientist
who created the polio vaccine, born in NYC, New York (d. 1995)
US House of Representatives rejects
proposal to give women right to vote
May 7th RMS Lusitania sunk by German
submarine off the southern coast of Ireland; 1198 lives lost
May 7th Alfred G Vanderbilt, US
millionaire, dies aboard Lusitania
Jul 21st Wilson sends the third
Lusitania note, warning Germany that future infringement of American rights
will be deemed 'deliberately unfriendly'
Dec 10th 28th US President Woodrow
Wilson marries 2nd wife Edith Galt, a descendant of native American Pocahontas
Feb 22nd The House-Grey Memorandum,
drafted by US and Britain, states: 'Should the Allies accept [the American idea
of a conference to end the war] and should Germany refuse it, the United States
would "probably" enter the war against Germany'
Apr 18th US Secretary of State Warns
Germany that the USA may break diplomatic relations unless torpedo attacks on
unarmed ships stop
May 27th President Wilson addresses the
League to Enforce Peace, founded in 1915, and gives public support to the idea
of a league of nations
Boys Scouts of America forms
Coca-Cola brings current coke formula to
Woodrow Wilson (D) re-elected US
Jul 1st Dwight Eisenhower marries Mary
`Mamie' Geneva Doud in Denver, Colorado
Jones Act: Puerto Rico territory
created, US citizenship granted
Apr 6th US declares war on Germany,
enters World War I
US Congress passes Selective Service
Act, authorizing the federal government to raise a national army for the
American entry into World War I through compulsory enlistment
New York State adopts a constitutional
amendment giving women the right to vote in state elections
US becomes 13th country to declare war
on Austria during World War I
May 29th John F. Kennedy, 35th US
President (1961-1963) and Senator (D-Mass), born in Brookline, Massachusetts
Jan 8th US President Wilson outlines his
Fourteen Points for peace after the Great War
US House of Representatives passes
amendment allowing women to vote
Dec 4th US President Woodrow Wilson
sails for Versailles Peace Conference in France, 1st President to travel
outside US while in office
Apr 8th Betty [Bloomer] Ford, US 1st
lady (1974-77) and founder of the Betty Ford Center clinic, born in Chicago,
Illinois (d. 2011)
Prohibition ratified by 3/4 of US
states; Nebraska is 36
Jan 25th Founding of League of Nations
Veterans Day was originally known as
Armistice Day, with the 1919 proclamation of President Wilson to commemorate
the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, when the
fighting after World War I ended with an armistice, to honor the veterans of
World War I for achieving peace. This
was seventh months before the official end of the war that was to end all wars
with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.
US Congress passes the Women's Suffrage
Bill, the 19th Amendment
NY Daily News begins publishing
Jun 28th Treaty of Versailles, ending
WWI and establishing the League of Nations, is signed in France
1st scheduled passenger service by
American Legion incorporated by an act
Sep 25th US president Woodrow Wilson
suffers a breakdown in Colorado, his health never recovers
Oct 2nd US President Woodrow Wilson has
a stroke, leaving him partially paralyzed
US President Woodrow Wilson's veto of
Prohibition Enforcement Bill is overridden
Alice H Parker patents gas heating
Jan 6th Theodore Roosevelt, 26th US
President (R: 1901-09; Nobel 1906), dies in NY at 60
Jun 28th 33rd US president Harry Truman
(35) weds Elizabeth Truman (34) in Independence
Some Highlights in Tottenville 1910-1919
office name changes to Bentley Manor.
“In April 1910, in response to a petition of 300
names, the Post Office Dept. changed the name to Bentley Manor. Supporters of
the historic name, led by the D.A.R., responded with two petitions containing
over 1,300 signatures.
The Washington Post, dated November 5, 1910,
reported the following: ‘Complying with
a general request by citizens, Postmaster General Hitchcock yesterday ordered
the name of the post office at Bentley Manor, N.Y., changed to the old name of
“By 1910, Tottenville beaches had become popular for
summer vacationers from Manhattan and New Jersey”
On May 3, 1912 Pat Vassallo, my father, was born in
the Bronx. With my mom he moved to Middle
Village, Queens; then lived on Swinnerton Street in Tottenville, active at the
Tottenville Senior Center. He moved to
Woodrow Road after my Mom’s death, living there until his death on July 12,
Survivor returns to Tottenville
“Staten Islanders in the vicinity of Tottenville are
rejoicing over the safe arrival of Miss Mary Davies, of London, a sister of
Mrs. E. Langford. Miss Davies arrived at
her sister’s home about 1:30 yesterday morning, and was immediately placed
under the care of a physician for fear of serious illness from the cold and exposure
resulting from the awful catastrophe of the Titanic.”
Staten Islander, Sat., April 20, 1912
Mary Davies married John Wilburn in 1915. He later operated Matheson & Wilburn Hardware
at 175 Main Street. Mrs. Wilburn was a
life member of Eastern Star in Tottenville.
Later moving to Syracuse New York, Mrs. Wilburn died on July 29, 1987 at
the age of 104, the oldest know living survivor of the Titanic disaster.
Tottenville Historical Society Newsletter June 2012
“Congregation Ahavath Israel organizes and
incorporates in 1916. It is not until
1933, however, that the congregation builds a house of worship.”
“The Palace Theatre was located on Craig Avenue,
between Main Street and Butler Street, Tottenville. It is listed as operating
in the 1914-1915 edition of American Motion Picture Directory.”
“Tottenville Evangelical Free Church began in 1915
when thirteen Christian brethren (five men and eight women), all Norwegian,
came together for their mutual concern of the worship of the Lord Jesus
Christ. A little over a year later this
small group met at the Red Front Hall on Main Street and Eureka Place in
Tottenville on December 28, 1916 for the purpose of incorporating “The
Norwegian Evangelical Free Church” (of Tottenville) and to elect trustees.”
‘The Norwegian Evangelical Free Church elects
trustees and incorporates. In 1917, a
lot at 266 Wood Ave. is purchased and a church built in 1924. Today, it is called Tottenville Evangelical
“… in 1916, the New York Department of Health
declared clamming and oystering in the waters around Staten Island
unsafe.” This brought an end to the
oyster industry in Tottenville.
“The first local draft board on Staten Island opened
on May 25, 1917. Richmond County sent
more men to the war effort per capita than any other county in the United
States. Of the 5,000 Islanders who served, 141 were killed. ..
Six local men lost their lives during the Great War:
Private Almer G. Russell
Lieutenant Walton U. Beauvais
Private Thomas Cavallo
Private Peter L. Massey
Clarence R. Klinger
Sergeant John W. O'Meara., Jr.”
“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.”
After attending a Tottenville Civic Association
sponsored town hall meeting with Borough President James Oddo on July 13,
I was happy to find that the
association is continuing to live up to its motto of “fostering a unique small
town quality of life.”
For a town hall to be successful, its main goal
should be to open a two-way conversation between residents and elected
officials. From my experience as a
reporter for the Staten Island Register, I never expect a meeting to solve
everyone’s problems, but I am always encouraged when I witness a respectful
conversation that addresses the issues, which this meeting did.
I look forward to seeing the follow-up from this
Hope your July 4 celebration was a good
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.
Did you know?
In 1899, Tottenville's first library opened at 206 Johnson Ave.
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
Theodore Roosevelt October 27, 1858 - January 6,
Benjamin Barker Odell January 1, 1901 - December 31,
Frank W. Higgins January 1, 1905 - December 31, 1906
Charles Evans Hughes January
1, 1907 - October 6, 1910
William McKinley March 4, 1897 - September 14, 1901
Theodore Roosevelt September 14, 1901 - March 4,
William Howard Taft March 4, 1909 - March 4, 1913
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 &
Henry Bliss becomes 1st automobile
fatality in the US (NY.)
J S Thurman patents motor-driven vacuum
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
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
Ford Motors under Henry Ford
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
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
First New York subway opens - IRT
(Interborough Rapid Transit), fare set at one nickel (Bkln bridge-145 &
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
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
Plaza Hotel (5th Av & 59th Str, NY)
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
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
1st time, ball signifying new year
dropped at Times Square
Henry Ford introduces the Model T car
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
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
Highlights in Tottenville 1899-1909
- 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”
- The Tottenville Branch Library becomes the first Carnegie library on Staten
“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
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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.”
the Conference House in July 2016
12-14, 19-21, 26-28 Children’s
30 (Biddle House) SI OutLOUD
reading of Moby Dick
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
3pm • Free • 4+
July 7, July 14,July 21,July
Baby & Me
11am • Free • Ages 0-1.5
July 8, July 15,July 22,July
10:15am • Free • Ages 1.5-3
Super Duper Dance Party
3pm • Free • Ages 3-12
Stuffed Animal Sleepover
7pm • Free • Ages 3-12
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.
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
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,
President McKinley signs the Organic Act to annex
Pierre and Marie Curie discover radium.
Will Kellogg invents
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.
Terra Cotta Works
Some artisans of the Perth Amboy
Terra Cotta Company left to found the Atlantic Terra Cotta Works in
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
Lady Help of Christians
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
On Sunday, June 5, 2016 from 11am-5pm at the
Conference House, don’t miss the South Shore Artists Group Annual Art Show and
Rain Date: Sunday, June 12th
The Years in
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
where YOU come in.
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?
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!
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.
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
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.
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
--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
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
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!
In last month’s blog, I shared my Register articles on
Tottenville businesses in the past, which included the following:
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.
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.
If any readers know more about Edith Dow, please add a comment to this
blog post or contact me via email at AngieMangino@aol.com
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
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.” http://www.tottenvillehistory.com/
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
“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.” http://www.biblioserver.com/19centurydocs/index.php?m=word&kid=269194&gid=1&id=
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
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.
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.” http://www.tottenvillememories.net/home.htm
“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
“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.”
Staten Island Advance
“Rabbi Unger’s column examines history of a Tottenville
“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
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
The former Pete’s barbershop at 229 Main Street, across the
street from the Post office, is the new, transformed home of the Tottenville
opening celebration and exhibition is
on Saturday, August 3 from
11am to 4pm.
Exhibition: MAIN STREET IN RETROSPECT
Regular Hours after Aug. 3:
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.” www.tottenvillehistory.com/Local.../229-main-street.html
More good news is that on or about
August 15 the Scented Cottage gift shop will join them on Main
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.
“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
This Month in the History of Tottenville
Happening this Year at the Conference House:
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.” http://www.conferencehouse.org/about/history/
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:
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.” http://www.tottenvillehistory.com/