History of Staten Island

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  • Part 1 – Early Life: From the Woodland Indians to the American Revolution!

    Next session TBD

    An exploration of the Native Americans who inhabited Staten Island and the archeological digs that have provided us with facts on the Lenape and their lives, will be followed by a discussion on the European settlers who changed everything. With the arrival of these colonizers enslaved persons were forced onto the island. We will consider this, as well as who the early settlers were and the conflicts that erupted owing to their arrival. Permanent settlement at Oude Dorp in 1661 will be reviewed, as will the Revolutionary War. Its effects on the populace and the arrival of 30,000 British troops on Staten Island will all be considered.


  • Part 2 – The Three I’s of the 19th Century: Industry, Institutions, and Immigration

    Next session TBD

    The Civil War, including soldier encampments and the race riots that spilled onto Staten Island, will be inspected. Immigration, specifically Irish and German, will be analyzed, as will the immigrant impact on manufacturing. Hundreds of products were made during the 19th century. Let’s talk about beer, bricks, blocks of soap and more. Institutions such as the Almshouse, “Mount Loretto,” Saint Michaels Home, Sailors’ Snug Harbor, “The Old Ladies’ Home,” the Nursery and Child’s Hospital and others also relocated to or settled locally. Why? Let’s not forget the farming tradition at these institutions or the “Gentlemen Farmers,” such William H. Vanderbilt and Frederick Olmsted, who were present. This is also a perfect time to investigate the Vanderbilt family and their Staten Island connections.

  • Part 3 – The 20th Century: Staten Island Style: The Environment, Culture and Historic Preservation

    Next session TBD

    The fascinating history of the environmental movement of the 1880’s that is still vigorous today with the efforts of Protectors of Pine Oak Woods will be presented. We will also highlight preservation of the built environment and the controversy over landmarking on Staten Island. The Staten Island Historical Society, the Preservation League, the Tottenville Historical Society, and many other groups will also be discussed, as will individual mansions, Historic Districts and homes. The varied architectural styles found on the island will also be highlighted. Next up let’s enjoy an historic look at our local museums, parks, and of course, the Staten Island Zoo.


  • Part 4 – The People: Women, Houses of Worship and Burial Grounds, Recreation, and “The Bridge”

    Next session TBD

    We will wrap up with an analysis of the people of Staten Island. Who were the women who had an impact? Who established the houses of worship and what can we learn from studying their burial grounds? Then brace yourself for The Bridge and Staten Island: Unplanned Chaos and Disorder. Such an emotional eye-opener will be followed by a relaxing look at recreation during “Life’s A Beach.” Who established the beach resorts of the late 19th century at South Beach and Midland Beach? What was there before and oh how the public enjoyed both sites will conclude our series.

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