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Tottenville History

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

1 Comment to This Month in the History of Tottenville September:

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Veronica Wood on Sunday, May 31, 2015 8:10 AM
I have several paintings I bought when I lived on Staten Island by Edith Dow and I was also wondering where she is now. Hope you can help. Thanks Veronica
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