Staten Island’s First President…

Staten Island’s First President…

Next President’s Day let’s remember Staten Island’s first Borough President George Cromwell. A Brooklyn native who was born on July 3, 1860, his father bought an estate at what would later be called Dongan Hills. The estate itself would be known as “Far View Farm.”

A graduate of Yale, George became a successful lawyer, as well as a politician and a scientific farmer (like Frederick Law Olmsted and William H. Vanderbilt). Elected to the New York State Assembly for one term in 1888, Cromwell sponsored a number of important bills including the Arbor Day Bill, removal of the Quarantine burial ground at Princes Bay, the establishment of a cemetery on Swinburne Island and a fish and oyster protection bill.

After the City of New York was consolidated George Cromwell served five terms as Borough President of Richmond County from 1898 until 1913. Mr. Cromwell is also remembered for moving local offices into the newly constructed Borough Hall in Saint George in 1906. It was built in record time and “without a scandal.” He also took office when there was no official survey of the island, so he petitioned the Board of Estimate to provide money for a survey, which they finally did.

Richmond County Borough Hall, circa 1930’s

In 1915, the same year as his marriage at the age of 46, Cromwell was elected a New York State Senator and he served until 1918.

George Cromwell died at “Far View Farm” on September 17, 1934. He was 74 years old. Mr. Cromwell was buried at Moravian Cemetery.

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