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Panorama of Richmond, Staten Island

Panorama of Richmond, Staten Island, N.Y. [view from high ground with St. Andrew's Church] (From NYPL Digital Gallery)

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church recently celebrated its 300th anniversary. My mother's family lived nearby when she was young. They later moved, but my grandmother was buried from St. Andrew's, in 1955, I think.

Richmond was the Staten Island County seat until it was later moved to St. George, near the ferry. Richmond is more or less the geographical center of Staten Island.

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Port Richmond Branch Library, The First 50 Years: 1905-1955

This post is a revised and updated version of an article that originally appeared in The Staten Island Historian, Winter-Spring 2002, Volume 19, New Series 2 published by the Staten Island Historical Society.

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The Port Richmond Branch of The New York Public Library is rich with stories. It stands at 75 Bennett Street on the North Shore of Staten Island, N.Y., two blocks from the Kill Van Kull. A gift from the steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, the historic red brick building faces Veterans’ Park and P.S. 20 in the Port Richmond 

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"Tottenville: The Town the Oyster Built"

From the flier for an upcoming program on March 19, 2009 at 4:00PM at the Tottenville Branch Library:

A Celebration of the History of Tottenville

The Tottenville Historical Society and the Tottenville Branch Library invite you to celebrate the arrival of the new book, Tottenville: The Town the Oyster Built by Barnett Shepherd. “Scrupulously researched but lively vivid…” writes Christopher Gray of the New York Times. And Brian J. Laline, Editor, Staten Island Advance adds “Tottenville, Staten 

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At Home In Staten Island: A Tale of Two Literary Englishmen and Their Children

Charles Dickens & Charles Dickens Jr., Charles Mackay & Marie Corelli

A poem appeared in the weekly London periodical All The Year Round of April 11, 1869. It is called AT HOME IN STATEN ISLAND. There’s no author identified other than a “home-sick Englishman” There’s a bracketed paragraph at the beginning of the poem that seems inserted like an editor’s note. It describes the differences between the landscapes of England and Staten Island in the terms of one who is 

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Main Street, Tottenville, Staten Island, New York

Main Street, Tottenville, Staten Island, N.Y. [close view of shops and ad sign for Horton's Ice Cream, people in front of store under awning, old car in street]

Main Street is about a block away from the Tottenville Branch Library. The street looks very different today!

Image and Caption From NYPL Digital Gallery

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The St. George Theater, Staten Island

This is a great place, and it is within walking distance of the ferry. I went to movies here as a kid, and it is great to go to it again and see it in good shape! It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the inside is fabulous! They are putting on a number of different kinds of shows now, including concerts and the occasional play. And they have a working Wurlitzer organ that they play before most performances. For more info on the theater, go to their website:

And it is right across the 

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Bethel Methodist Church, Tottenville

I found these pictures at

The original Bethel Church in Tottenville burned down in 1886 and was re-built and dedicated the next year. There is a history of the church in Tottenville In Retrospect by Benjamin Franklin Joline, which is at the Tottenville Branch. When the church moved to its present location, pictured above, some members felt it was too far away from the heart of Tottenville, and they broke away to start another Methodist 

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WaFoo will be performing at the Tottenville Branch Library, 7430 Amboy Road, Staten Island, NY 10307, phone number 718-984-0945 this coming Saturday, July 12 at 2:30PM.

WaFoo, literally meaning "wind of Japan" or simply "Japanese style," is a group of talented musicians who have performed in many different countries across the world. WaFoo blends Japanese philosophy into a variety of music styles to create a lyrical, aesthetic and delightful sound to help regain energy for body and soul.

"WaFoo's amalgam of 

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The Flag of Staten Island

Even though I have read about this flag, I don’t recall ever seeing this being flown anyplace on Staten Island. I think some people think the big hill in the background is the garbage dump. And seagulls? Not the most beautiful or noble bird in the world! Somewhat of a scavenger, I believe. Maybe it is just as well it isn’t flown anyplace!

Some history:

Flag Description From: Staten Island Chamber of Commerce

OFFICIAL FLAG OF STATEN ISLAND: The flag is on a white background in the center of 

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Staten Island Aerial Photos from 1924

If you like the "Satellite View" feature in Google Maps then you should enjoy these aerial photographs of New York City. In 1924 Arthur Tuttle flew over the city snapping pictures of every building and landmark there was. His images of NYC rooftops clearly show the outline of all the buildings. The atlas containing his photos is called:

Sectional aerial maps of the City of New York / [photographed and assembled under the direction of the chief engineer, July 1st, 1924]. 

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Staten Island OutLOUD

This is a wonderful Staten Island nonprofit organization. I’ve attended a few of their events, and they have always been interesting and fun! The below information is from their website, which is at:

What is Staten Island OutLOUD? Staten Island OutLOUD is a grass-roots dialogue and performance project. Several times a month, we present free gatherings in community settings throughout Staten Island. We gather to read aloud to one another from a variety of world classics and other compelling 

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Historical Staten Island Maps in the Digital Gallery

There's a great selection of Staten Island maps and Atlases in the NYPL Digital Gallery. Using the "Pan and Zoom" feature the maps can be enlarged to the point where you can read street names and even the names of residents of individual houses. "Pan and Zoom" is not available on all maps, however.

Here are some of the maps and atlases available:

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The Dump


...and today!

OK, so this is the thing about which just about all Staten Islanders, no matter what their background or politics, have over the years been least proud. The Fresh Kills Landfill (or as we used to call it, “the dump,”) closed on March 22, 2001, certainly in part as a reward from then mayor Rudy Giuliani to Staten Island for its political support.

The dump opened up in 1948 and was supposed to be temporary. It grew to be by most accounts the largest garbage dump in the world.

I had the pleasure(?!) of 

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Staten Island Yankees

Spring has sprung, and for many of us that means the beginning of the baseball season. A few years ago, a ballpark, named Richmond County Ballpark at St. George, was built right next to the Staten Island Ferry terminal. It is the home of the Staten Island Yankees, a Class A minor league team of the New York Yankees. They play a short season (this year from June 17 to September 6). Prices for tickets are cheap; in past years they have been in the $10 range for the best seats. Food prices are cheaper than the major leagues, but not as inexpensive as one might hope, at least in my 

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Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

This bridge changed everything on Staten Island, changing it from a rural area of small towns and open spaces and farms (which I recall) to one of suburbia. I remember going to Fort Wadsworth with my family in the early 1960s to check the progress of the building of the bridge. The fort is now open to the public, and it is managed by the National Park Service and is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area.

Staten Island was a Tory area during the American Revolution. However, I read an 

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Rural Readers from Staten Island, New York

Caption: After School at Kreischerville: children lined up at librarian’s table behind bookwagon (ca. 191--ca. 192-).

Kreischerville is the next town north of Tottenville, but today it is called Charleston. Kreischerville was named after the owner of a brickyard, an industry that once thrived here as the clay-type soil here was good for making bricks. Some of the excavations were filled in by water and today are called Clay Pit Ponds. 

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Almer G. Russell Pavilion, Tottenville, Staten Island, New York

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 

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Staten Island Hospital

OK, so I admit the link of  this picture to the Tottenville Branch is tenuous–it is geographically far from Tottenville, but this is where the Tottenville Branch librarian (me) was born! Sadly, the building is unoccupied and in a very dilapidated state. After Staten Island Hospital moved to its new location (sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s) this building was converted into an apartment building, but it went bankrupt after a few years. Some squatters occupied  part of it a few years ago, but they were evicted. I think there are legal issues that keep it from being 

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Outerbridge Crossing, Staten Island

Many people think the name of this bridge is the Outer Bridge, because it is on the outer reaches of Staten Island and NYC.  However, it was named after Eugenius Harvey Outerbridge who was the first chairman of the Port Authority of New York and was a Staten Island resident. (I guess the Outerbridge Bridge would sound too odd.)

The Staten Island side of the bridge is actually in Richmond Valley, the next town to Tottenville, and links the island to 

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Staten Island Side of Tottenville Ferry

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