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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

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