The Verrazano Bridge

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Serving Staten Island Since 1981

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History

      Staten Island, which was incorporated in 1898, is a borough of New York City, until 1975, it was known as the borough of Richmond and is still known as Richmond County. It is located in New York Bay, It lies southwest of Manhattan Island, to which it is linked by ferry, and west of Brooklyn, to which it is linked by the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge across The Narrows of New York Bay. To the west and north lies New Jersey, from which it is separated by the narrow Arthur Kill and Kill Van Kull. It is connected to New Jersey by the Goethals, Bayonne, and Outerbridge Crossing bridges. Although predominantly level, the island rises in the northeast to Todt Hill, the highest point along the eastern seaboard.

     Of the five boroughs of New York City, Staten Island has the smallest population and is also the most suburban.  Wagner College (1883), the College of Staten Island (1955), and a campus of St. John's University are located on the Island. Sailors Snug Harbor, once a noted home for retired seamen, is now a cultural and arts center.  Of interest are the Jacques Marchais Center of Tibetan Arta memorial to the Italian nationalist Giuseppe Garibaldi, who lived on Staten Island in the 1850s; and the Richmond town restoration.  It has many 17th- and 18th-century homes. Of special interest are the Conference House (1680), scene of futile peace negotiations held in 1776 during the American Revolution; and the Voorlezer's House (1695), the nation's oldest surviving elementary school building.

Staten Island was sighted by the explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, in 1524. It was named by the English navigator Henry Hudson, in 1609 for the States-General (Staten Generaal), of the Dutch legislature.  Attempts to colonize the island in 1639 and 1650 were thwarted by Native Americans until a peace treaty was reached in 1660. The first permanent settlement began in 1661. The area passed to the English in 1664, and in 1683 the island was designated Richmond County in honor of Charles Lennox, the duke of Richmond, a son of Charles II. Regular ferry service between Staten Island and Manhattan began in 1712. British forces captured Staten Island early in the American Revolution and held it until 1783. The island grew slowly as a relatively isolated farming and fishing center. In the 1880s it became popular as a seaside resort. It was made a borough of New York City in 1898. The opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in 1964 led to considerable residential development. The land area is 59 sq mi; population 352,121 (1980); 378,977 (1990);
443,728 (2000).

Back then, the county was comprised of five townships -- Northfield, Westfield, Southfield, Castleton, and Middleton -- and three villages -- New Brighton, Port Richmond and Edgewater, which was incorporated in 1866 and included Stapleton, Clifton and the portion of Tompkinsville that lies west of what is now Victory Boulevard. Each village had its own hall, a seat of local government to house its board of trustees and board of health.

Perhaps the most critical year in Staten Island's history was 1964. That's the year all lanes opened for traffic on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. This was important because it made it convenient to commute to the rest of the city by car. After the bridge Staten Island's population increased some 30% while the rest of the city decreased nearly 10%. The increase in population brought with it improvements of all kinds, shopping malls, restaurants, better roads, schools and recreational facilities.

For more background information try this link 

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The Preservation League of Staten Island

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Historic Richmondtown Restoration

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