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Books on County Genealogy and History

Ellis Island Online Immigrant Search

101 Famous Staten Islanders

Hispanic Genealogical Society

Homepage and History of NYC Fire Department

Irish Historical Society

Italian Americans of Staten Island

Jewish Museum of New York

Muslim Center of New York

Major Attractions in NYC

Map of Richmond Co. (1895)

Maritime Industry Museum

Museum of Immigration

NY Genealogical and Biographical Society

NY Historical Society

NY Public Library Gen. Resources

NYC GenWeb Project


NYC Immigrant Stories

Official NY State Website

Official NY City Website Preservation League of Staten Island

Richmond Co. GenWeb Project

Richmond (Staten Island) GenWeb Project

Staten Island Online

See also
Bronx Co.
Kings Co. (Brooklyn)
Nassau Co.,
New York City
Queens Co.,
or Suffolk Co.

Staten Island, Hoffman Island, Shooters Island, and Swinburne Island make up Richmond County. This is one of the five boroughs of New York City. The other four, and their NYGenWeb links when applicable, are: Manhattan (New York County), Brooklyn (Kings County), Queens (Queens County), and The Bronx (Bronx County).

It is officially known as Staten Island since the 1970's. Staten Island, Brooklyn, and part of the Bronx consolidated with Manhattan into New York City in 1898; most things since then are done on a city-wide level. Prior, records are mainly separate.

April 1524 Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano is the first European to pass through the Narrows. Verrazano sails La Dauphine for King Francis I of France, hoping to find new trade routes to the rich markets of Asia. Verrazano first touches the American coast at North Carolina and then sails north to Newfoundland. His report to the king contains the first description of the northeastern coast of North America and gives France its claim to American lands.

Sept. 3, 1609 Seeking a water passage through the American continent to speed trade with Asia, Dutch explorer Henry Hudson, sailing the Half Moon for the Dutch East India Company, sights a large island and names it Staaten Eyelandt, after the Dutch legislative body. Hudson's explorations leads to Dutch settlements of New Amsterdam (Manhattan) and Staten Island.

Aug. 20, 1661 After years of failed colonizataion attempts - primarily due to murderous conflicts with native Lenape Indians - nineteen Dutch and French colonists form first permanent European settlement on Staten Island at Oude Dorp (now South Beach).

1663 Rev. Samuel Drisius begins bi-monthly visits to the fledgling population of European colonists at Oude Dorp (now South Beach), marking the formal arrival of Western religion. Drisius, a Dutch Church minister who preaches in English and French as well as Dutch, journeys here by boat from New Amsterdam (Manhattan) to administer the Lord's Supper.

April 13, 1670 American Indians cede all claims on Staten Island to the English in a deed to Gov. Francis Lovelace. The move comes six years after English soldiers conquer New Netherlands by claiming ownership of entire "northern" territory previously discovered by John Cabot, including Staten Island. The deed ends decades of violence between native Lenape Indians and European Settlers.

Nov. 1, 1683 Staten Island is named Richmond County after the Duke of Richmond, Charles II's illegitimate son, as English gain permanent control over the territories surrounding New York Harbor. Earlier in the year, Gov. Thomas Dongan takes office and during his tenure personally acquires large tracts of land here for hunting and other recreation.

Sept. 18, 1704 Justices of Peace build first jail in Cocclestown (Richmond) and unwittingly take first step in establishing the county's seat of government. The site is chosen primarily for its central location. Soon, a church, a second jail, and a courthouse spring up in the area.

1705 Rev. Aeneas Mackenzie, an English missionary with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, arrives to found a congregation in Cocclestown (Richmond). At first, Mackenzie preaches at the French Church, until 1712 when he dedicates Richmond's Church of St. Andrew, the Island's oldest continuous congregation.

May 20, 1736 The ferry age begins when Adoniah Schuyler petitions the governor to establish a public boat across the Arthur Kill to Elizabethtown, New Jersey. Within the next two decades, additional ferries are established between the east Shore and Bay Ridge, Brooklyn; the North Shore and Manhattan; Port Richmond and Bayonne; and the East Shore and Manhattan.

June 21, 1774 Daniel D. Tompkins, an influential public official and long-time Island resident who developed Tompkinsville, is born in Fox Meadows (now Scarsdale), N.Y. As governor of New York from 1807 to 1817, Tompkins helped outlaw slavery in the state. During the War of 1812, he helped finance the state militia. Tompkins also served two terms as vice president under James Monroe.

July 2-3, 1776 Nine thousand British troops under Gen. William Howe land here to the great pleasure of pro-king Islanders. The Loyalists burn about forty pounds of Continental paper money in a huge bonfire, and Howe establishes his headquarters in New Dorp, which attracts pro-British sympathizers from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. One week later, another 20,000 British arrive in 100 ships, upping the troop-to-Islander ratio ten-to-one.

July 9, 1776 Some five hundred Staten Island men, in a formal bid to solidify their loyalty to the British crown, sign an oath of allegiance to the King of England on the same day New York receives word of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia.

Sept. 11, 1776 On the heels of the American defeat in the Battle of Long Island, British Gen. William Howe meets with John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Edward Rutledge to offer clemency in return for surrender at the home of loyalist Lt. Col. Christopher Billopp in Tottenville. The first attempt at peace talks between British officials and Americans at what is now called the Conference House ends in failure as the British refuse to consider independence.

May 27, 1794 Cornelius Vanderbilt, later called the Commodore, the famed shipping and railroad magnate who built a transportation empire starting with a sail-powered ferry service between Staten Island and Manhattan, is born on the North Shore. A few years later, the Vanderbilts move to a mansion they had built in Stapleton, which stood at the present site of the former Paramount Theater on Bay Street.

March 31, 1816 The Island gets its first highway when the Richmond Turnpike Company forms to hasten travel between New York and Philadelphia. The company, with the full support of Gov. Daniel Tompkins, an Islander who helped develop Tompkinsville, builds an Island-long thoroughfare linking Tompkinsville to Travis. It later became Victory Boulevard.

Nov. 29, 1817 Staten Island's first steam ferry service inaugurated between Whitehall in Manhattan and Tompkinsville ushers in the modern era of traversing our waters. Within years, luxury ferries begin transorting wealty Island entrepreneurs to businesses in the city for a whopping 12 1/2 cents one way (more than three dollars in today's money).

1819 Barrett, Tileston & Co., a dye house and printing works, opens in West Brighton, beginning a new chapter in Island economic life - industrial development. Barrett's is the earliest and largest venture of its kind in the state, serving clients as far south as Savannah, Georgia. As a result, many southern communities no longer needed to rely on farther-away Boston dye works to color broadcloth and other fabrics. The success of the plant attracts similar ventures to the community, which becomes known as Factoryville.

July 4, 1827 The end of slavery in New York state is celebrated at Swan Hotel, West Brighton. Rooms at the hotel were reserved months in advance as local abolitionists and prominent free blacks prepared for the festivities. Speeches, pageants, picnics, and fireworks mark the occasion. The celebrating continues for two days.

Oct. 17, 1827 The first edition of Staten island's first newspaper, The Richmond Republican, went on sale. Printed in Manhattan, the Republican was edited by Charles N. Baldwin from an office in Tompkinsville. The four-page weekly remained the county's only newspaper for three years.

October 23, 1829 County supervisors purchased Mid-Island farm near the present site of Sea View Hospital and Home. Two months later, the farm was converted into the Farm Colony, Staten Island's first poor house. The colony was a self-sufficient community for the needy, who grew their own food and sold goods at the colony's general store. The collection of fifty buildings at the 380-acre site was abandoned in the 1950s and later named the city's 48th historic district.

1830s Former slaves from Staten Island, Manhattan and New Jersey and free black oystermen and women from Maryland and Virginia began settling at Sandy Ground, near present-day Woodrow and Rossville. The district, which is the nation's oldest free black community with descendants of the original founders still living there, flourished as a center of economic and social life for blacks living along the Eastern Seaboard.

1831 Capt. Robert Richard Randall, a wealthy ship owner who parlayed his father's privateering fortune into extensive Manhattan real estate holdings, established Sailor's Snug Harbor in Livingston as a haven for aging seamen. The sprawling, self-contained retirement community featured a number of classic Greek Revival structures, and included a lavish church and music hall. The facility deteriorated as the population dwindles. In 1973, the city acquired Snug Harbor as the borough's cultural center.

Oct. 1, 1831 Staten Island's first hospital, the Seaman's Retreat, opened with forty patients in Clifton. The facility, specifically dedicated to the care of seamen only, was built on a forty-acre site at Bay Street and Vanderbilt Avenue (present home of the Sisters of Charity Medical Center, Bayley Seton Campus).

1839 The Island's first Catholic parish, St. Peter's, was established in New Brighton, fifty years after the Roman Catholic Church was incorporated in the City of New York. The parish included all of Richmond County and parts of New Jersey. The church building, dedicated ten years after, was later destroyed by fire. The present St. Peter's Church was erected in 1903.

Early 1850s New German immigrants opened a number of breweries in Stapleton, Clifton, and Castleton Corners. Attracted by the fresh-water springs and the cool caves in the surrounding hillsides that offered ideal storage, the brewery and beer garden business thrived for decades. By the late 1870s, the Island supported eight breweries, employing more than 360 men and producing more than 160,000 barrels of beer valued at nearly $1.5 million annually.

Jan. 8, 1851 Staten Island's first public hospital, the Samuel R. Smith infirmary, opened in Tompkinsville. The castle-like structure was named for Dr. Samuel Russell Smith, a local physician who practiced from 1828 until his death in 1851. In 1917, the fast-growing medical facility was renamed Staten Island Hospital, which eventually evolved into Staten Island University Hospital.

1854 B. Kreischer & Co., one of the nation's earliest and largest brick manufacturers, opened a factory in Kreischerville (now Charleston). Kreischer started out making bricks in Manhattan using New Jersey clay. But in 1873, when city property became far too valuable for manufacturing, Kreischer built a larger plant along the Arthur Kill between Rossville and Tottenville. His Manhattan factory was razed to make way for tenements.

Jan. 21, 1856 Staten Island Historical Society was chartered to collect, preserve, and exhibit the artifacts and culture of Richmond County. In 1958, the society contracted with the city to develop and maintain Historic Richmond Town, New York City's only "living" historic village.

Sept. 1, 1858 Angry mobs from New Brighton and Edgewater (Stapleton) torched the Marine Hospital Quarantine in Tompkinsville, where immigrants with infectious diseases were held. From the outset, the community opposed establishment of a quarantine on Staten Island. But after a number of local cases of yellow fever were confirmed, citizens took their own action and the riot made national headlines. Later, new quarantine stations were built on Hoffman and Swinburne Islands.

April 23, 1860 Nearly a decade after it was incorporated, the Staten Island Railroad Company's first passenger train leaves Eltingville for Vanderbilt's Landing (Clifton). The Island's first railroad provided residents of southern communities a quick, direct link to Manhattan-bound ferries at the landing.

June 1860 First magnetic telegraph line reaches Staten Island, sixteen years after Congress built the first line from Washington to Baltimore and the now immortal message - "What hath God wrought?" - is flashed over the wire. Telegraph systems spread quickly across the nation after 1856, when a sounding key helped facilitate transmissions.

Early 1863 Land developers Cornelius Kolff and Louis Kaufmann opened a realty business. The pair is ultimately responsible for thirty-six residential developments, ushering in a new housing boom that extends into the 1920s. They also are instrumental in founding the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce in 1895.

July 14, 1863 Extreme mob violence, which began days earlier in Manhattan, spread to Staten Island in what is now called the Civil War draft riots. When conscription laws were enacted with loopholes for the affluent, the actual draftees were overwhelmingly poor Irish immigrants. In protest, houses in Stapleton owned by blacks, who were widely viewed as responsible for the war, were torched and blacks hunted down and beaten. Conservative estimates include five Island deaths, but the toll is much higher in Manhattan.

July 30, 1871 A boiler explodes on the Westfield II ferry on a Sunday afternoon as hundreds of beach-bound Manhattanites board. Sixty-six people were killed immediately in the blast and resulting inferno and stampede, or drown in the broiling water. More than 200 passengers were burned, scalded by steam, maimed by flying debris; more than sixty died later from their injuries. The accident stands as the Staten Island Ferry's worst disaster.

March 20, 1874 Lawn tennis is introduced in the United States after Staten Islander Mary Ewing Outerbridge brings the sport back from a winter trip to Bermuda. The first court in America is set up on the grounds of the Staten Island Cricket and Baseball Club in St. George. By 1880, tennis is so popular that the first National Lawn Tennis Tournament is held at the same club.

Sept. 1881 The Natural Science Association was organized by a group of local naturalists, including William T. Davis. Later renamed the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences, the institute is among the nation's oldest general-interest museums.

1882 Electricity arrived on Staten Island when the American Linoleum Manufacturing Co. illuminated its Travis plant. The community was called Linoleumville because American Linoleum is the first plant in the United States to manufacture the new floor-covering product made from linseed oil, cork, and burlap. The hugely successful plant employs more than 200 workers, and a village springs up nearby to house their families.

Nov. 29, 1883 Child-care pioneer Rev. John Christopher Drumgoole, an Irish immigrant ordained at age 53, founded St. Vincent's Home for Homeless Newsboys after arriving at Mount Loretto. His 524-acre seaside farm, which opens a home for girls soon after his death in 1888, evolves into one of the city's foremost child-care institutions.

1884 Congregation B'nai Jeshurun, the Island's first Jewish congregation, is founded in Tompkinsville. After meeting without a formal synagogue for about seven years, the congregation moves into a building on what is now Victory Boulevard. In the 1970s, the congregation moves to its current location on Martling Avenue in West Brighton.

March 8, 1886 St. George emerges as Staten Island's transportation hub after a single terminal combines rail and ferry service. The concept was the brainchild of Erastus Wiman, an amusement promoter who worked endlessly to attract potential customers to his huge entertainment spectacles that include lavish restaurants and big league baseball in St. George and Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in Erastina (Mariners Harbor).

March 17, 1886 Elizabeth Alice Austen was born to a prominent Rosebank family. Ms. Austen, a pioneer woman photographer who chronicled late 19th-century life on Staten Island and the streets of New York, recorded her work on more than 7,000 glass-plate negatives. The 1929 stock market crash plunged her into poverty. She lived most of her last years at the Sea View Farm Colony for the poor, until her story and images are sold to Life magazine in 1951, eight months before her death.

March 27, 1886 Richmond County Advance, precursor to the Staten Island Advance, hit the newsstands. The four-page weekly, one of ten newspapers published on the Island at the time, targeted middle-class residents interested in promoting and improving their Island home. The circulation was under 1,000.

April 1886 The Metropolitan Baseball Club opened the season at their new home in St. George. The major-league team was brought to Staten Island by entertainment promoter Erastus Wiman, and the Mets were expected to become the magic bullet that attracts loads of basball fans - and their dollars - to the Island. But two miserable seasons proved the club's undoing, and it folded in 1887.

April 1888 The Richmond County Country Club was organized to "promote social recreation and encourage an interest in riding and driving" - horses and golf. The RCCC was first located in a two-story building in Sunnyside (now part of the Staten Island Expressway) with an initial membership of 165. Later, it expande to include an eighteen-hole golf course, and a club house on Todt Hill.

July 4, 1888 Prohibition Park, a model community and summer resort for temperance supporters, opened thirty-two years before Prohibition was passed. The park, founded by leaders of the National Prohibition Party, draws vacationers by the thousands seeking respectable leisure and folks looking for genteel homes away from the crowded city. But the new experiment in living fails after fifteen years, and the community becomes known as Westerleigh.

June 13, 1889 Staten Island was connected to the mainland with the opening of the first railroad bridge, a masonry structure which spanned the Arthur Kill from Howland Hook to Elizabeth. The railroad link was later demolished to make way for the Goethals Bridge.

July 1, 1892 Staten Island's first trolley line opened, running between Port Richmond and Meiers Corners. Trolleys, which cost only a nickel a ride through most of their existence, helped facilitate mass transit across the Island by reaching communities not serviced by trains. The city replaced the borough's trolley lines in the early 1930s with buses.

Jan. 21, 1898 Staten Island - along with the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens - joined New York City. In 1894, 73 percent of Islanders, hoping for improved services, voted for the initiative, the brainchild of Andrew Haswell Greene, called the "Father of Greater New York." Many local business leaders and land owners pushed hard for "consolidation," anticipating steep increases in real estate prices here.

Feb. 6, 1899 Staten Island's first public library opened in Tottenville, a gift of Andrew Carnegie, who only required that the community provide the land and the annual upkeep. Designed by the noted architectural team of Carrere and Hastings, who also built the 42nd Street Library in Manhattan, the library was conceived by a local women's club and a men's club, which had been operating a library from a private home.

Feb. 9, 1904 Big city educational amenities come to Staten Island when the borough's first high school building, Curtis in St. George, opened, named after famed writer George W. Curtis, who lived nearby, Curtis was the city's first collegiate Gothic school house and the only city high school landmarked both inside and out.

October 1, 1905 New York City places four engine and three hook and ladder companies into service, replacing most of the Island's volunteer companies (one remains in Travis, another in Four Corners.) Volunteer fire companies reached their apex during the years following the Civil War, when more than 75 different fire houses were scattered throughout the county.

October 25, 1905 Rising concerns about the poor conditions of boats and a lack of safety for passengers prompted New York City to assume control over the Staten Island Ferry, which has been operating as a private venture since its inception nearly one hundred years earlier.

May 2, 1906 St. George emerged as Staten Island's new civic center when Borough Hall was dedicated. The Beaux Arts-style structure, by the prominent architectural firm of Carrere and Hastings, the same team who designed the 42nd Street Library in Manhattan and the first public library in Tottenville, is made of brick and limestone with a distinctive clock tower overlooking New York Harbor.

October 1907 Proctor & Gamble opened a factory in Port Ivory, Mariners Harbor, producing more than one million cases of Ivory and Lenox soap bars a year. For more than eighty years, the local plant produced soap and detergent shipped around the nation and employed thousands of people.

June 21, 1912 Abel Kiviat of Stapleton won a silver medal in the 1,500-meter run and a gold medal as a member of the five-man 3,000-meter shuttle team, at the Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden. The Curtis High School track star qualifies for the U.S. team by setting a world record in the 1,500-meter run at the age of 20. He is the only Islander ever to win an Olympic medal.

Nov. 12, 1913 Sea View Hospital opened and quickly became the nation's foremost tuberculosis treatment facility. By the 1950s, the city facillity was treating as many as 2,000 TB patients at a time. The hospital's staff, led by Dr. Edward H. Robitzek, was instrumental in developing and dispensing new drugs to cure the disease. The doctor won worldwide acclaim and was honored with one of the nation's most prestigious medical prizes.

1916 The city's Department of Health closed the last of New York Harbor's oyster beds. In the late 19th century, Staten Island oystermen harvested some 130,000 bushels of oysters - worth $40 million - a year. But the thriving industry was slowly snuffed out by sewage contamination - a 1910 typhoid outbreak is attributed to oysters - and by increased water pollution from oil companies and other manufacturers.

May 25, 1917 The first local draft board opened for World War I. Richmond County gave more men to the war effort per capita than any other county in the United States. Of the 5,000 Islanders who served, more than 160 were killed in action.

Oct. 25, 1917 Water from the Ashokan reservoir reached the Silver Lake reservoir after traveling three days from the Catskills. The new water supply, which for the first time connected the borough to the new York City water system, supplemented wells and springs already feeding the reservoir.

1918 Staten Island establishes its first institution of higher education when Wagner College moved to the former thirty-eight-acre Cunard Estate on Grymes Hill from Rochester, N.Y. The first year's enrollment includds sixteen students and one professor - plus a 2,000 book library. Local civic leaders lobbied hard for the school's relocation here.

June 10, 1918 The weekly Richmond County Advance began publishing Monday through Saturday as The Daily Advance. Three years later, the paper's name is changed to the Staten Island Advance. In 1922, the Advance is purchased by Samuel I. Newhouse, a budding media tycoon who parlays the floundering paper into a profitable newspaper group and other media ventures.

Early 1920s A 35-percent population increase and expectations of bridges to New Jersey and a tunnel to Brooklyn ignited a building boom as thousands of colonial revival homes were built. The city prepared for increased auto traffic by building a major north-south artery which was named for Mayor John Hylan, whose policies brought money for sewers and roads to the Island.

1920s A series of devastating fires - taking hundreds of concession stands and a number of popular hotels - crippled Midland Beach's reputation as a favored resort destination for city-weary Manhattanites. The beach resort era was finally ended by the Great Depression and encroaching water pollution.

Dec. 19, 1927 Dorothy Day, the feisty social reformer who co-founded the Catholic Worker movement, was baptized at Our Lady Help of Christians in Tottenville. Day, expected to be recognized a Roman Catholic saint, established the first Catholic Worker farm in Huguenot in 1934, maintaining a strong, life-long connection with the borough.

June 20, 1928 The Island's traditional ties to New Jersey were made concrete when the Outerbridge Crossing and the Goethals Bridge opened simultaneously, the first projects undertaken by the new Port Authority for New York and New Jersey. The bridges, similar in design, pointed the way to the future as they allowed cars, but not trains, to cross the Kill van Kull.

1929 The Stapleton Stapes joined the National Football League. Although never an upper-echelon team during their four years in the elite league, the Stapes do manage a 0-0 tie with the world champion Chicago Bears in their final season.

Sept. 6, 1926 Torrential rains caused Bodine Creek in West Brighton to overflow. Two dams collapsed, reulting in flooding from Arlington to Clifton that caused more than one million dollars in property damage. Two people were killed.

Nov. 15, 1931 Staten Island's third car bridge and its only pedestrian-accessible span, the Bayonne, opened, making permanent the long-standing connection between Elm Park and Bergen Point. The span, one of the longest steel-arch bridges in the world, was designed by Othmar H. Amman - who later built the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge - and was immediately lauded for its beauty. Despite being named a National Historical Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1985, the bridge remains the least-used of the four Island spans.

June 10, 1936 The Staten Island Zoo in West Brighton opened, with an extensive collection of reptiles that quickly established the animal park as one of the best small zoos in the world. Six years later, the zoo hired the nation's first woman zoo veterinarian, Dr. Patricia Halloran, who later established the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.

March 15, 1937 The Staten Island Coach Company replaced trolley service with the first bus service from St. George to Tottenville and overhead electric trolley lines and roadbed trolley tracks began to disappear from the landscape. The city took control of bus service from several private companies in 1947.

August 11, 1937 Heavy rains collapsed a six-family tenement on New Street (now Jersey Street, site of the Richmond Terrace Houses) in New Brighton. Nineteen people, including a heroic police officer attempting to rescue a trapped child, were killed.

March 28, 1942 An explosion at the Unexcelled Manufacturing Co. fireworks plant in Graniteville killed five workers. Investigators theorized that an electrical spark may have set off flammable material that the men were mixing to make Army and Navy signal flares.

June 25, 1946 A nine-alarm blaze consumed the St. George Ferry Terminal, crippling Staten Island's main public transportation hub. Three people were killed, 280 were injured, and seventeen trains were destroyed in the inferno. There are no ferries between Manhattan and Brooklyn for two days, until a contingency plan is put into effect. A new terminal opened five years later.

April 16, 1948 Despite years of community opposition, a "two-year" landfill opened in the marshlands at Fresh Kills. Widespread complaints about odor were registered by angry residents as early as 1949. In 1952, the city announced the the landfill would close by 1960. More than forty years and 3,000 acres later, Staten Island has the unsavory reputation as home of the world's largest garbage dump. After setting a number of closing dates over the decades, public officials recently have set Dec. 31, 2001, as the end of the landfill.

April 22, 1948 New York City's first drive-in theater opend on a fifteen-acre site along Richmond Avenue in New Springville. Called simply The Drive-In Theater, the popular movie-watching place closed in 1965, replaced by a plush single-screen movie theater called The Island and a strip mall.

Oct. 3, 1951 Islander Bobby Thomson hit "the shot heard 'round the world" to win the National League pennant for the New York Giants over their hated rivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers. For five seasons (1949-1953), Thomson, arguably the best Islander to play in the majors, led the Giants in homers hitting more than teammate Willie Mays. In 1949, he trailed only Stan Musial and Jackie Robinson in the National League in hits (198), and was fourth in home runs (27).

March 1956 Staten Island Community College opened in St. George as the borough's first City University of New York (CUNY) institution. In 1965, Richmond College opened a separate St. George campus for CUNY students desiring to complete a four-year degree program. The two institutions merged in 1976, forming the College of Staten Island in Sunnyside, where the community college had relocated earlier. In 1993, CSI begins to move to its Willowbrook campus.

1958 Richmondtown Restoration - now known as Historic Richmond Town - was established, creating New York City's only "living" historic village. The 96-acre site offered visitors a look into the borough's past by visiting twenty-eight historical buildings - ten on their original sites. The Voorlezer's House (circa 1696) is the nation's oldest existing school building.

Dec. 16, 1960 The worst U.S. air accident to date occured over Staten Island when TWA Flight 266 from Dayton, Ohio, bound for La Guardia, collided in a heavy snowstorm with United Flight 825 from Chicago bound for Idlewild (now Kennedy) Airport. The TWA Constellation, with forty passengers and a crew of five, broke up and fell in three sections on the landing strip of Miller Field, narrowly missing houses and two schools. The United jet, with seventy-six passengers and a crew of seven, flew a few miles before falling into the Park Slope section of Brooklyn. All 128 people aboard the two aircraft died.

January 1963 The last of Staten Island's great brewers, Piel's Brothers Inc. in Stapleton, closed. Known as Piel's only during the last decade of its existence, the brewery was once called Rubsam and Horrmann, a cornerstone since the late 19th century of the borough's world-renowned beer industry.

April 20, 1963 Black Saturday: Three brush fires - one starting in Rossville, one in Tottenville and another in Mariners Harbor - destroyed one hundred houses, leave more than five hundred homeless. The fires caused more than two million dollars in damage and level many of the historic houses in the Sandy Ground community.

Dec. 18, 1963 In a sports war reminiscent of the biblical battle between David and Goliath, Wagner College upsets New York University in basketball 77-76, defeating the nation's top team.

Aug. 29, 1964 In a nationally televised championship game, Mid-Island Little League beat Monterrey of Mexico 4-0 to win Little League World Series. To cap things off, pitcher Dan Yaccarino tossed a no-hitter.

Nov. 21, 1964 The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the largest suspension span in the world at the time, opened to traffic. For better or worse, the bridge, which for the first time tangibly links the Island with the rest of New York City via Brooklyn, forever changed the face of Staten Island by helping boost the local population a whopping thirty-three percent in the U.S. Census following its opening.

Dec. 18, 1964 The New York City Board of Estimate votes unanimously to establish a park stretching from New Dorp to Sea View, termed the "greenelt" by Borough President Al Maniscalco, as a natural preserve. Over the next 35 years, environmentalists fought hard for the demapping of the Richmond and Willowbrook parkways and the inclusion of more properties in the protected area that will eventually include over 2,800 acres in the center of the Island.

1971 Advance reporter Jane Kurtin exposed horrendous conditions at Willowbrook State School in a series of articles in 1971. Soon after, an ambitious but relatively unknown Geraldo Rivera brought the story to the national consciousness, launching his career in TV journalism and leading to the eventual closing of the institution.

1971 With enrollment declining as interest in single-sex education diminishes, and beset with financial difficulties, the forty-year-old all-female Notre Dame College on Grymes Hill closes and St. John's University assumes control of the campus.

May 4, 1971 Staten Islander Paul Zindel won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play "Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds." Zindel, a former chemistry teacher at Tottenville High School, drew inspiration for his works from local sites and personas. A prolific author of literature for adolescents, Zindel's most popular works include "The Pigman" and "My Darling, My Hamburger."

Feb. 10, 1973 An empty liquefied natural gas tank in Bloomfield exploded, killing forty workers cleaning the inside. The incident, which stands as the borough's worst industrial accident ever, energized local opposition to filling larger tanks, in Rossville, with the gas. The tanks were never filled, ending a thirteen-year battle against the plan.

June 1973 New York City rescued Sailor's Snug Harbor in Livingston from demolition and possible future housing development by acquiring the site as the borough's new cultural center. Extensive renovations were needed to save their Greek Revival structures and other historic buildings, which fell into disrepair as its population of retired seamen dwindled.

Aug. 9, 1973 Mall mania hit the borough as the Staten Island Mall opened. Many Islanders opt to shop at name retail outlets, abandoning aging mom-and-pop retail centers such as Stapleton and Port Richmond. Owned now by the Rouse company of Columbia, Md., among the nation's largest shopping-center developers, the mall today has about 185 retail stores employing some 3,000 people.

August 3, 1975 After holding steady for seventy years, the one-way five-cent ferry fare rises 250 percent to a quarter round trip. With a financial crisis looming, the city claims it can no longer subsidize the world-famous nickel fare.

July 4, 1976 Thousands line Island shores to watch a parade of tall ships enter New York Harbor as Operation Sail celebrates the nation's Bicentennial.

Dec. 23, 1985 Staten Island's first Islamic house of worship, Muslim Majlis Mosque, is established in Concord. The mosque meets the religious and social needs of the community's growing population of Muslim immigrants from Pakistan, Egypt, Trinidad, India, Nigeria and other African nations.

March 20, 1986 Congestion on the Staten Island Expressway from cars and trucks backing up to pay the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge toll eastbound was finally eased when Congressman Guy V. Molinari, with the backing of Senator Alfonse D'Amato, secured the one-way toll as part of a federal highway law. Almost immediately, opponents launched a battle to reinstitute the two-way toll, arguing it increased traffic in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Nov. 3, 1993 After years of study and debate, sixty-five percent of Staten Islanders voted to secede from New York City. The initiative stalled in the Democrat-controlled state Assembly, where Speaker Sheldon Silver of Manhattan decreed the bill must be accompanied by a home-rule message from the Democrat-controlled City Council, which was unwilling to pave the way for the break-up of the city.

Oct. 18, 1995 The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was the first Island span to acept EZPass, an electronic toll-taking system that eliminated the need for cash or tokens. Nearly 11,000 Islanders signed up for the discounted toll service in the weeks leading up to its institution.

May 23, 1996 The state Senate unanimously passee legislation to force the closure of the Fresh Kills landfill - the largest dump in the world - by Dec. 31, 2001. The measure was spearheaded by Sen. John J. Marchi and Assemblyman Eric Vitaliano after an accord was reached on the closing by borough President Guy V. Molinari, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Governor George Pataki, and after then-Councilman Vito Fossella authored a similar bill in the City Council. The measure was handily passed by the state Assembly, carried by Island Assembly members Elizabeth Connelly, Vitaliano and Robert Straniere, the next day.

July 4, 1997 After nearly a century of charging for a ride, the city abolished the Staten Island Ferry's fare, which doubled to fifty cents in 1991. Free ferry rides are part of the introduction of the electronic MetroCard, which finally offers free transfers from Island buses and the Staten Island Railway to buses and subways in Manhattan.

June 20, 1999 Professional baseball returned to the borough as the Staten Island Yankees win their home opener at the College of Staten Island. The New York-Penn A-League team is expected to play at the college until a 6,500-seat waterfront ball park is built in St. George.

Source: Staten Island Advance

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Click on the links below for book titles and history specific to that county.

From what or whom did the name of each county originate? Click here to find out.

County Date
Parent County County
Albany 1683 original county Albany
Allegany 1806 Genesee Belmont
Bronx 1914 New York Bronx
Broome 1806 Tioga Binghamton
Cattaraugus 1808 Genesee Little Valley
Cayuga 1799 Onondaga Auburn
Charlotte 1772 Albany renamed Washington in 1784
Chautauqua 1808 Genesee Mayville
Chemung 1798 Tioga Elmira
Chenango 1798 Herkimer, Tioga Norwich
Clinton 1788 Washington Plattsburgh
Columbia 1786 Albany Hudson
Cortland 1808 Onondoga Cortland
Delaware 1797 Ulster, Otsego Delhi
Dutchess 1683 original county Poughkeepsie
Erie 1821 Niagara Buffalo
Essex 1799 Clinton Elizabethtown
Franklin 1808 Clinton Malone
Fulton 1838 Montgomery Johnstown
Genesee 1802 Ontario Batavia
Greene 1800 Ulster, Albany Catskill
Hamilton 1816 Montgomery Lake Pleasant
Herkimer 1791 Montgomery Herkimer
Jefferson 1805 Oneida Watertown
1683 Original county Brooklyn
Lewis 1805 Oneida Lowville
Livingston 1821 Genesee, Ontario Geneseo
Madison 1806 Chenango Wampsville
Monroe 1821 Genesee, Ontario Rochester
Montgomery 1772 Albany (as Tryon to 1784) Fonda
Nassau 1899 Queens Mineola
New York City
1683 Original county New York
Niagara 1808 Genesee Lockport
Oneida 1798 Herkimer Utica
Onondaga 1794 Herkimer Syracuse
Ontario 1789 Montgomery Canandaigua
Orange 1683 Original county Goshen
Orleans 1824 Genesee Albion
Oswego 1816 Oneida, Onondaga Oswego, Pulaski
Otsego 1791 Montgomery Cooperstown
Putnam 1812 Dutchess Carmel
Queens 1683 Original county Jamaica
Rensselaer 1791 Albany Troy
Staten Island
1683 Original county St. George
Rockland 1798 Orange New City
St. Lawrence 1802 Clinton, Herkimer, Montgomery Canton
Saratoga 1791 Albany Ballston Spa
Schenectady 1809 Albany Schenectady
Schoharie 1795 Albany, Ostego Schoharie
Schuyler 1854 Tompkins, Steuben, Chemung Watkins Glen
Seneca 1804 Cayuga Ovid, Waterloo
Steuben 1796 Ontario Bath
Suffolk 1683 Original county Riverhead
Sullivan 1809 Ulster Monticello
Tioga 1791 Montgomery Owego
Tompkins 1817 Cayuga, Seneca Ithaca
Tryon 1772 Albany (renamed Montgomery 1784)
Ulster 1683 Original county Kingston
Warren 1813 Washington Lake George
Washington 1772 Albany (see Charlotte) Hudson Falls
Wayne 1823 Ontario, Seneca Lyons
Westchester 1683 Original county White Plains
Wyoming 1841 Genesee Warsaw
Yates 1823 Ontario, Steuben Penn Yan

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