This is an an email I received from the President of the Tottenville Historical Society:
“I received a note today from long-time Tottenville resident Gordon Ekstrand, who is also Past Post Commander of the local American Legion, Beauvais-Hudson Post No. 126. He writes:
“I have been working since November 2006 to have the Borough Commissioner of Parks Thomas Paulo erect a new sign at the Pavilion next to Conference House Park. I called his office and was told the sign is up. I walked down to the pavilion and it’s really up above the steps. Also Sen. Lanza’s office pushed them, too. The brass $300.00 plaque reads:
Dedicated to Almer G. Russell
Machine Gun Battalion 321
World War I Born 1891 ~ Died 1918
Our Beauvais-Hudson Post No. 126 on Memorial Day and Veterans Day visits 7 locations to have a service, and the pavilion is one of the stops we make and place a wreath in the water for sailors lost at sea.”
FYI: The Pavilion was constructed in the 1930s to honor local resident Almer Russell who was killed in action in France . The neglected structure had become unsafe and was razed in 1963. Many individuals and organizations petitioned the city for 30+ years to rebuild it. Finally, in 2002, the Pavilion was reopened, but with virtually no mention of Almer Russell.
So, if you are in the area, take a walk to the Pavilion in Conference House Park and see the new brass plaque mounted in memory of a fallen soldier. And say “thank you” to Almer, and also to Gordon and his Legion comrades for their work and especially for their service. We should never forget.”
When I was a boy my family occasionally drove here all the way from Travis, Staten Island to take in the cool breezes coming off of Raritan Bay. I was very happy when they re-built it. It is in the Conference House Park, which is about a mile from the Tottenville Branch.