STATIONS OF THE STATEN ISLAND RAILWAY, Part 6
Tottenville can unofficially be known as New York State’s southernmost town (officially, New York City is). British naval officer captain Christopher Billopp was its first European settler in 1678, and within a couple of years, had built a stone mansion at the foot of today’s Hylan Boulevard that would figure prominently in American history as the Conference House. The Billopps remained Tories, loyal to the British, throughout the Revolution and so had their lands confiscated at the end of the Revolution. The story goes that Staten Island is a part of new York State, not New Jersey, as a result of Capt. Billopp won a wager that he may circumnavigate Staten Island in in the future.
The Totten household owned a large amount of property in the realm within the 18th Century, and after a series of names like Unionville, Bentley Dock, and others, the village settled on a name befitting its major property holders. It was formerly home to shipbuilding, oyster harvesting, and the manufacture of terra cotta.
Despite its remoteness Tottenville has been the terminus of the South Shore line of the Staten Island Railway because the 1860s, and three of the island’s major roads, Arthur Kill Road, Amboy Road and Hylan Boulevard, also lead here.
Staten Island’s First Families
Postcard view of Bethel Methodist Episcopal Church, Amboy Highway and Bethel Avenue, built to exchange an earlier construction in-built 1841 that burned down in 1886; the replacement church was raised later that year. There has been a congregation since 1823.
The older view is from 1925. Some of the spires have been removed since. Realms of Historical past: The Cemeteries of Staten Island, Patricia Salmon, 2006
A listing of the interred at the cemetery behind the church reads like a Staten Island avenue map. Tottens, Bedells, Woods, Spragues, Manees, Sleights, Mersereaus, Androvettes, Deckers…the first burial was William Sleight, 3, who died December 3, 1841.
Our next SIRT station is a bit of exhausting to search out. From the church and cemetery, a walk to the end of Bethel Avenue, left at St. Andrews Place, after which we find some twisted metal with some broken sodium lamps attached. This is the entrance to our next stop.
The overhead crossover has lost its roof, the original nineteen thirties railings are nonetheless in place, the staircases are unlit (read: the lights are smashed), and the station platforms are illuminated by mercury bulbs that possible date to the early 1960s. Even the station’s name reflects a defunct business:
Nassau Smelting & Refining Co.’s plant was built in 1900 on the Richmond Valley line of Tottenville. The smelting works (Tottenville Copper Company) was bought by Western Electric in 1931, another results of Depression instances. In 1971 it became a metal recycling plant and renamed Nassau Recycling Corporation. It is now a part of Lucent Technologies. Angie Mangino
Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Hammerin’ Hank were swatting ’em over the wall when these mercury lamps had been first put in at Nassau. In the 60s, these would have made George Jetson envious. However, the MTA hasn’t touched them since, besides to perhaps replace the bulbs. Do they work
We might imagine that the MTA has simply forgotten that Nassau exists. There is a reason for this decrepitude, a very thin one, but a cause, which we’ll mention after we see our next SIRT station. Last time I was here, the platform signs were wood planks with the word “Nassau” stenciled on (an association most SIRT stations used to have), so the MTA has installed black and white signage.
We now encounter Arthur Kill Road, one of the longest roads in the broough, which twists and turns for mile after mile just south of Staten Island’s western shore, running by Richmond City, Eltingville, Greenridge, Arden Heights, Rossville, Charleston, and at last tottenville, the place it staggers to a detailed on the waterway it’s named for. It is an amalgamation of several roads and assumed its present name sometime in the early 20th Century.
As I’ve said, I remember taking the S74 (then the R74) down this abbigliamento stone island outlet dusty monitor in the summer season by acres of nothingness, just woods punctuated by a home here and there, in the 1970s. Some stretches of the road are still like that. When the bus reached Tottenville, I’d think, civilization at last.
A road named Ellis Avenue runs west along the SIRT from Arthur Kill Highway. After we take it we find…
…and some very outdated houses, either along Ellis or on the odd alley comparable to Weir Lane. A weir is a gadget placed in a stream to dam it or catch fish, so it’s probably they have been employed right here.
The stays of Tottenville’s maritime restore trade may be discovered here.
A effectively-saved old house is dwelling to an art, music and dance college. Meaning, in fact that there’s a SIRT station close by.
Atlantic, accessible from Ellis Road or simply off Arthur Kill Highway, is in higher form than Nassau, but just. It’s illuminated by sodium lamps on its crossover and in the battered shacks that serve as shelters, and a couple of lights on nearby telephone poles. The platform is just prolonged sufficient to accommodate one SIRT automotive, which is keyed open by the trainperson.
Atlantic is named after one other defunct enterprise, the Atlantic Terra Cotta Company, once certainly one of Staten Island’s largest employers, who made the decorative materials used on skyscrapers (including the Woolworth Constructing, Coney Island’s Child’s Restaurant, and Philadelphia Museum of Artwork) and for fireplace-resistant cladding. The company’s smokestack was a well-recognized Tottenville landmark for 80 years until 1988 with the demolition of the 135 foot structure.
Both Nassau and Atlantic have had deferred maintanance, or moderately, no maintence, for several many years. Rumor has persisted for years that the MTA intends to demolish each and exchange with a new Arthur Kill station midway between the 2. The MTA should a minimum of shore up the two stations before they both crumble onto the tracks.
Fosher Avenue houses. The Tottenville Historic Society has inspired the installation of several signs encouraging “hometown pride” with a clean house the place homeowners can fill in the house’s date of building.
394 Reasons to Adore it
All you can say is wow. The house formerly belonging to Dr. Henry Litvak was in-built 1895 and, after all, once resembled the houses near it on Lee Avenue. But in 1941 designer Eugene Megnin bought hold of it, and took things to another level…
…in the fashion, the AIA Guide to New York City says, of the avant-garde French architect Robert Mallet-Stevens, a friend of Le Corbusier.
The placing exterior makes use of 394 glass blocks (your webmaster counted them). This type of architecture, you either dig it otherwise you don’t. It’s important to like the meticulously hand lettered sign advertising the docs who work inside. To be honest, the building may use a reno as lots of the glass blocks look cracked.
I hadn’t identified Tottenville to be a hotbed of NYC tourism however you can’t swing a lifeless cat without hitting a gifte shoppe. These two face each other at Amboy Road and Yetman Avenue.
When Tottenville was still a small oyster fishing village in 1904, it got its very personal world-class Classical Revival library constructing because of millionaire philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. The Tottenville Library was designed by the prolific firm of John Carrere and Thomas Hastings, who also masterminded the good fundamental branch at 5th Avenue and West 42nd Avenue and the Staten Island Borough Corridor.
Egger’s is the Tottenville branch of a venerable Staten Island ice cream parlor in enterprise on Forest Avenue on the north shore since 1933.
The Scented Cottage, at Amboy Highway and Johnson Avenue, overdoes it just a bit.
Tottenville is blessed with not one but two street clocks along Amboy Road, both of current vintage. The primary is at the Bedell-Pizzo Funeral House, the second at the SW nook of Most important Avenue, Tottenville’s essential crossroads.
The somewhat forlorn Tottenville battle memorial flagpole is at the NW corner of Amboy and Fundamental.
A brief stroll on Major Street north from Tottenville’s epicenter at Foremost and Amboy reveals several historic wonders such as the outdated Stadium Theater, which is reasonably obscure; it hosted rock concert events and contained a roller rink in the 1970s. this building was slated for demolition as far back as 2004 but things go slow in these parts.
The grand Masonic Temple, formerly housing Tottenville’s publish workplace, is at 236; its terra cotta ornamentation comes courtesy of the outdated Atlantic works. A newer PO is subsequent door.
Fundamental Street. 1890s-1900s architecture will someday be recognized as certainly one of the good wonders of the world. They will never construct like this again.
Doubling again to Amboy Highway, at Swinnerton Avenue we find…
St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal Church, built 1883 in Romanesque revival, gained, or regained, a bell tower in 1883. When i visted tottenville as a teenager in the early 1970s, there was not much but woods south of the church. Streets have been minimize by way of and homes constructed, and it appears to be like as if they’ve at all times been there.
Bentley Avenue, formerly Bentley Dock Road, is the street that goes to our last stop, and may be Tottenville’s nicest residential street…
Would possibly these homes have been constructed for nineteenth Century ship captains or shipyard homeowners
I saved the most effective one for last…
And you didn’t assume green, gold and purple went together. That’s a wraparound porch with a water view. The water is the Arthur Kill but still.
Double dying. Mighty Arthur Kill Highway, which begins its march to Richmond City right here, peters out on the water’s edge, as does Bentley Avenue.
End of the line
Geographia Maps still quite comically marks the outdated Tottenville-Perth Amboy ferry.
In the course of the colonial interval and for a big time thereafter, Tottenville was an necessary means-station for travelers between New York Metropolis (of which Staten Island did not formally develop into a part until 1898) and Philadelphia, as it was the location of a ferry that crossed the Arthur Kill to Perth Amboy, New Jersey. This ferry grew to become less essential when the Outerbridge Crossing opened in 1928, however continued to operate until 1963. wikipedia
The only remnant of the ferry is the old piles that supported the ferry dock. On the other aspect, Perth Amboy has restored its ferry landing which it hopes will result in direct ferry service to Manhattan.
Until 1963 the Staten Island Rapid Transit’s Tottenville Branch began and ended with intermodal terminals, ie. you could possibly change from the practice to a ferry. NY State’s southernmost rail station has lately been modestly renovated, with a brand new pedestrian stroll to Bentley sstreet, and a crossover on the north side of the station. It’s about 55 minutes from here to St. George Terminal.
Photography: February 24. Page completed March 13.
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