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The history of Staten Island

From Staten Island Advance.

  • 1000 -- Hackensack and Raritan Indian tribes -- two chieftancies of Lenape, or Delaware Nation -- are Staten Island's sole inhabitants.
  • April 1524 -- Italian Giovanni da Verrazano, sailing for France, becomes first European to pass through Narrows.
  • Sept. 3, 1609 -- While seeking Northwest Passage, Henry Hudson sights island, naming it Staaten Eyelandt.
  • Aug. 22, 1661 -- Gov. Peter Stuyvesant permits first permanent European settlement of 19 Dutch and French settlers at Oude Dorp (now South Beach).
  • Nov. 1, 1683 -- Staten Island is named Richmond County after Duke of Richmond, Charles II's illegitimate son.
  • 1695 -- Voorlezer's House, now the nation's oldest school building, is built in Cocclestown (Richmond).
  • 1747 -- First ferry established between Manhattan and North Shore.
  • 1774 -- Daniel D. Tompkins, future governor of New York and U.S. vice president, who developed Tompkinsville, is born in Westchester County.
  • July 2-3, 1776 -- 9,000 British troops under Gen. William Howe land on Staten Island "to the great joy of a most loyal people."
  • July 9, 1776 -- New York receives word of Declaration of Independence as Islanders sign oath of allegiance to King of England.
  • March 7, 1788 -- New York State Legislature divides Staten Island into four towns: Castleton, Northfield, Southfield and Westfield.
  • March 31, 1816 -- Richmond Turnpike Company is formed to hasten travel between New York and Philadelphia; eventually operates road (now Victory Boulevard) from Tompkinsville to Travis.
  • Feb. 23, 1828 -- Capt. John Jackson buys land in Westfield (Sandy Ground), first record of a black man buying land in Richmond County.
  • Oct. 23, 1829 -- County supervisors purchase mid-Island farm near present site of Sea View Hospital and Home; two months later it is converted into Farm Colony, Island's first poorhouse.
  • 1831 -- Sailors Snug Harbor (Livingston) is established; begins operation two years later.
  • 1830s -- Newly freed blacks from Manhattan and free black Maryland oystermen begin settling at Sandy Ground (parts of Rossville, Woodrow, Pleasant Plains and Charleston).
  • July 1837 -- Richmond Co. Mirror, first newspaper printed on Staten Island, is published.
  • 1839 -- Island's first Roman Catholic parish, St. Peter's in New Brighton, is established.
  • 1841 -- Isaac Prey Bedell founds Tottenville funeral home; operates today as Bedell-Pizzo Funeral Home, Island's oldest continuous funeral business.
  • 1851 -- St. Joseph's in Rossville, the oldest Catholic church building still standing in the borough, is built.
  • Jan. 21, 1856 -- Staten Island Historical Society forms.
  • Sept. 1, 1858 -- Mobs from New Brighton and Edgewater, fearing spread of yellow fever, torch Marine Hospital Quarantine in Tompkinsville, where immigrants with infectious diseases are held.
  • Early 1860s -- Six army camps established here during Civil War; shot tower built along East Shore to supply ammunition.
  • July 14, 1863 -- Nation's most deadly riots -- Civil War draft riots -- spread from Manhattan to Staten Island, lasting six days. Houses owned by blacks, who are viewed as responsible for war, are torched in Stapleton. Many blacks are hunted down and beaten; conservative estimates include five local deaths.
  • 1864 -- Staten Island Savings Bank is founded in Stapleton by Francis George Shaw and 20 other men (the oldest financial institution headquartered here).
  • March 17, 1865 -- Pioneer photographer Elizabeth Alice Austen is born in Rosebank.
  • Sept. 29, 1866 -- First official Richmond County fair is held.
  • July 30, 1871 -- Staten Island's worst ferry disaster, when boiler explosion aboard Westfield II results in 66 deaths; 60 more of the 200 injured would subsequently die of their injuries.
  • March 20, 1874 -- Tennis introduced to North America by Mary Ewing Outerbridge, who brings sport to her Staten Island home from Bermuda.
  • 1880s-1890s -- Thousands of New Yorkers flock to huge resorts at South and Midland beaches each summer to escape oppressive city heat.
  • 1881 -- S.S. White Dental Works, dental equipment/supply manufacturer and among Island's largest employers, established at site of small dental factory started in 1865 at Seguine's Point (Prince's Bay).
  • March 28, 1881 -- Staten Island Telephone Exchange Company incorporates; 14 lines in operation by June 25.
  • September 1881 -- Natural Science Association organized; later renamed Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences, county's oldest continuous cultural institution.
  • 1883 -- Marine/Public Service Hospital moves to Clifton from Bedloe's Island to make room for Statue of Liberty.
  • Nov. 29, 1883 -- Child-care pioneer Rev. John Drumgoole founds St. Vincent's Home for Homeless Newsboys after arriving at Mount Loretto with boys from Lower Manhattan slums.
  • 1884 -- First synagogue, Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in Tompkinsville, opens.
  • Feb. 23, 1886 -- First ferry runs between St. George to Whitehall.
  • March 27, 1886 -- Richmond County Advance, weekly precursor to Staten Island Advance, is first published.
  • March 11, 1888 -- Sudden blizzard is among worst in city history; Father Drumgoole dies of pneumonia after getting caught in storm.
  • July 4, 1888 -- Prohibition Park in Westerleigh, model community for temperance supporters, opens 32 years before Prohibition amendment to Constitution is passed.
  • Sept. 26, 1888 -- First street lights brighten Richmond Terrace.
  • November 1894 -- Staten Islanders overwhelmingly vote to become part of New York City -- 5,531 to 1,505.
  • 1895 -- Staten Island Chamber of Commerce is organized.
  • Jan. 1, 1898 -- Staten Island -- along with Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens -- joins New York City.
  • November 1898 -- George Cromwell elected first borough president.
  • Feb. 6, 1899 -- First library opens in Tottenville, gift of Andrew Carnegie.
  • Nov. 24, 1903 -- St. Vincent's Hospital in West Brighton opens.
  • Feb. 9, 1904 -- First public high school, G. W. Curtis in St. George, opens.
  • Oct. 25, 1905 -- City assumes control of Staten Island Ferry.
  • May 2, 1906 -- Borough Hall dedicated.
  • October 1907 -- Procter & Gamble factory in Port Ivory opens, producing 1 million cases of Ivory and Lenox bar soaps a year.
  • June 21, 1912 -- Track champ Abel Kiviat of Stapleton wins silver medal for 1,500-meter run at Olympic Games in Stockholm. Also wins gold medal as member of five-man, 3,000-meter shuttle team.
  • Feb. 1, 1917 -- All local post offices consolidated with Staten Island General Post Office.
  • May 25, 1917 -- First local draft board opens for World War I. Richmond gives more men to war effort per capita than any other U.S. county. Of 5,000 Islanders who served, 141 are killed.
  • Oct. 25, 1917 -- Water from Ashokan reservoir in Catskills reaches newly built Silver Lake reservoir after traveling 119 miles over three days.
  • 1918 -- Wagner College moves to Grymes Hill from Rochester, N.Y. First enrollment: 16 students, one professor and 2,000 books.
  • June 1918 -- Staten Island Advance begins daily publication.
  • March 3, 1919 -- Richmondtown courthouse holds last session before moving to St. George. New courthouse opens Nov. 3.
  • 1924 -- U.S. Gypsum, a Chicago-based wallboard and building materials manufacturer, buys J.B. King's Windsor Plaster Mills in New Brighton.
  • 1925 -- Entrepreneur William Morris founds Staten Island Chapter of NAACP.
  • June 20, 1928 -- Outerbridge Crossing and Goethals Bridge open simultaneously.
  • 1929 -- Staten Island Stapes, led by future NFL Hall of Famer Ken Strong, join National Football League.
  • Nov. 15, 1931 -- Bayonne Bridge opens.
  • June 10, 1936 -- Staten Island Zoo in West Brighton opens.
  • August 1937 -- A six-family tenement collapses after heavy rains flood what is now Jersey Street in New Brighton. A police officer attempting to rescue a child was among the 19 killed, so was the child.
  • July 4, 1939 -- Dedication ceremonies held for FDR Boardwalk in South Beach, including huge parade with bathing beauties and babies. Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia cuts ribbon.
  • 1942 -- War cargo ships set sail from Staten Island Terminal at Stapleton for World War II battlefields.
  • March 1942 -- An explosion in the Unexcelled Manufacturing Co., a fireworks plant in Graniteville, kills five employees.
  • May 11, 1943 -- British Prime Minister Winston Churchill lands in Tompkinsville, traveling to Washington by train to meet FDR.
  • June 25, 1946 -- Raging fire consumes St. George ferry terminal; killing three, injuring 280 and destroying 17 trains.
  • Dec. 26-27, 1947 -- Blizzard drops some 26 inches of snow in city's third worst blizzard (1888 was the worst, followed by the one in 1996).
  • April 16, 1948 -- Landfill at Fresh Kills opens.
  • 1951 -- Staten Island granted division of New York Police Department.
  • 1952 -- Richmondtown Restoration is established, creating city's only living historic village.
  • September 1952 -- Staten Island Edison connects to Con Edison power grid, relieving borough of financial burden of operating own power company.
  • March 1956 -- Staten Island Community College in St. George (now College of Staten Island in Willowbrook) opens as first two-year institution in CUNY system.
  • 1960 -- Bethlehem Steel Corp., among Island's largest employers for years, closes ship-building plant on Richmond Terrace.
  • Nov. 7, 1960 -- Presses roll for first time at current location of Staten Island Advance in Grasmere.
  • Dec. 16, 1960 -- Worst U.S. air disaster to date occurs when United Airlines carrier slams into TWA jet over New Dorp. United plane falls in Park Slope, Brooklyn, killing all 84 on board and six on ground. TWA plane crashes at Miller's Field, killing all 44 on board.
  • Jan. 3, 1961 -- Proclamation by Mayor Robert F. Wagner recognizes 300th anniversary of Staten Island's first permanent settlement by Dutch.
  • January 1963 -- Island's last brewery, Piel Brothers, Inc. in Stapleton, closes.
  • April 20, 1963 -- Black Saturday: Three brush fires -- one in Rossville, one in Tottenville and another in Mariners Harbor -- destroy 100 houses, leave more than 500 homeless and cause more than $2 million in damage. Many homes in historic Sandy Ground are destroyed.
  • Summer 1964 -- Livingston Community Association protests missing identification of Staten Island on state map at New York State Pavilion at 1964 World's Fair.
  • Aug. 29, 1964 -- Mid-Island Little League beats Monterey of Mexico 4-0 to win Little League World Series title.
  • Nov. 21, 1964 -- Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opens.
  • March 7, 1965 -- First Sunday Advance is printed.
  • 1970 -- Staten Island is home to 105,000 cars.
  • 1971 -- Federal quarantine station in Rosebank, which had inspected health of every immigrant entering the United States through New York Harbor since the late 1880s, closes.
  • 1971 -- Notre Dame College on Grymes Hill closes; St. John's University assumes control.
  • 1971 -- Advance reporter Jane Kurtin exposes horrendous conditions at Willowbrook State School, leading to national coverage and eventual closing of facility.
  • May 4, 1971 -- Islander Paul Zindel wins Pulitzer Prize for drama for his play "Effect of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds."
  • 1972 -- S.S. White Dental Manufacturing Co. in Prince's Bay closes.
  • Feb. 10, 1973 -- Explosion inside empty 500,000-barrel liquefied natural gas (LNG) tank in Bloomfield kills 40 men.
  • Aug. 9, 1973 -- Staten Island Mall opens.
  • June 1973 -- Sailors Snug Harbor acquired by city to be used as cultural center.
  • Feb. 28, 1980 -- Sandy Ground Historical Society organized.
  • Dec. 4, 1980 -- Rep. John Murphy is among congressmen convicted of accepting bribes from undercover FBI agents posing as Arab businessmen in ABSCAM investigation.
  • Dec. 23, 1985 -- First mosque, Muslim Majlis Mosque, opens in Concord.
  • Feb. 21, 1986 -- Board of Estimate approves Stapleton homeport plan in 6-5 vote; land transferred to Navy.
  • March 27, 1986 -- Advance publishes special centennial edition; largest weekday paper ever published in New York City.
  • Sept. 27, 1987 -- Fort Wadsworth, nation's oldest continuous Army fort, is turned over to Navy.
  • 1989 -- Islander Bill Britton wins Centel Classic, his only PGA Tour victory.
  • February 28, 1989 -- Federal Drug Enforcement Agent Everett E. Hatcher is shot to death by mob-connected, Prince's Bay drug dealer Constabile (Gus) Farace during an undercover cocaine buy in Charleston. It is the first murder of an on-duty law enforcement official in Island history.
  • November 1989 -- State orders Fresh Kills landfill closed by July 1991; Mayor Ed Koch says it's good for another 40 years.
  • Nov. 16, 1991 -- Procter & Gamble closes Port Ivory factory after 84 years of operation.
  • June 28, 1993 -- Navy pulls out of Stapleton homeport.
  • Nov. 3, 1993 -- 65 percent of Islanders vote to secede from city.
  • 1995 -- Island is home to 206,000 cars (96 percent increase since 1970).
  • July 15, 1995 -- Temperature hits a record-high 107 degrees.
  • Jan. 8-9, 1996 -- 30 inches of snow falls in one of city's worst blizzards.
  • May 29, 1996 -- Gov. George Pataki sets Fresh Kills landfill deadline at Dec. 31, 2001.
  • Nov. 15, 1996 -- Court of Appeals stymies secession vote.
  • Dec. 29, 1996 -- New York Jets football coach Rich Kotite, a Castleton Corners resident, resigns.
  • June 14, 1997 -- Last Coast Guard ferry sails from Governor's Island to St. George to set up permanent shop at Fort Wadsworth.
  • July 4, 1997 -- Ferry fare abolished.
  • July 26, 1998 -- Housing police officer Gerard Carter is shot while patrolling the West Brighton Houses. He dies five days later, becoming the first city cop killed while on duty on Staten Island.
  • March 22, 2001 -- The last barge of garbage arrives at the Fresh Kills landfill, the final load of an estimated 2 billion tons of New York City garbage deposited there. (The landfill is later used again for debris from the World Trade Center disaster.)
  • June 24, 2001 -- The Staten Island Yankees mark Opening Day at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George with a 3-1 victory over the Hudson Valley Renegades.
  • Sept. 11, 2001 -- Perhaps the blackest day in Staten Island, New York City and the nation's history. Residents are devasted when two hijacked airliners crash into the World Trade Center towers. Thousands perish, among them 250 Islanders and former residents.
  • Nov. 11, 2002 -- After 18 months of construction, installation and design work, the Staten Island Advance launches its redesigned product, printed on a new press.
  • Feb. 16. 2003 -- A blizzard drops 20 inches of snow on Staten Island, claiming at least two lives.
© 1999-2023 Updated on Sunday, 01-Aug-2021 18:17:49 PDT