Goats and Home Buying in the 1920’s

Goats and Home Buying in the 1920’s

I know you have all been wondering about this, so I thought it was important to share… 🙂 During the 1920s, 130 Staten Islanders had licenses to keep goats. Yes, you needed a license to own a goat at this time. It was common to see goats in Rosebank, Old Place, at Lambert’s Lane and around Chelsea. On the south shore goats were a problem for the railroad as the belligerent livestock often stood on the tracks and halted trains. Conductors had to get off the trains and manually remove the goats themselves. But change came and the Board of Health began cracking down on goat keeping. Realtors too were anxious to rid the borough of goats since the Goethals Bridge and the Outerbridge Crossing would soon bring in new residents who wanted to buy new houses in goat-less...

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“I Was Expected to Pave Them.”

“I Was Expected to Pave Them.”

Twelve million immigrants passed through Ellis Island. The majority were Italian. Most were escaping the rural poverty of Southern Italy. By 1900, there were 200,000 Italians in the City of New York. In ten years the population more than doubled. At this time, it stood at 545,000 and it was increasing. The men were mainly laborers. They built streets, buildings, walls, subway lines and more. There was an old Italian saying: “Well I came to American because I heard the streets were paved with gold. When I got here I found out three things, first, the streets weren’t paved with gold, second, they weren’t paved at all, and third I was expected to pave them.” There is little history on the early Italians who worked or settled on Staten Island. But, there is one...

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Help!

Help!

Museums, a botanical garden and even a zoo! Every cultural organization on Staten Island does the best they can. They are all underfunded and understaffed. You would be amazed at how few full-time workers are at each of these institutions and you would be amazed at all that they accomplish. All are blessed with part-time workers, volunteers, contracted individuals, etc. Historic Richmond Town and Snug Harbor are also, I do not want to use the word burdened, but it is an appropriate word, by structures that are old, historic and outdated. They are extremely difficult to maintain. Staten Island organizations include the Noble Maritime Collection, the Tottenville Historical Society, the Staten Island Children’s Museum, the Conference House, the Staten Island Museum,...

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They Don’t Build Them Like That Anymore!

They Don’t Build Them Like That Anymore!

I was in Graniteville last fall and took a few pictures on Willow Road West. I was so happy to see that a few of the simpler Italianate buildings that I remember from my youth were still standing. Italianate architecture is characterized by the presence of a low-pitched roof, decorative brackets under an ornamental cornice, and tall narrow windows that are sometimes shaped differently from story to story. These lovely buildings are usually two to three stories high. The Graniteville structures were altered, but they were still standing. A rare occurrence for an older building on Staten Island. When I saw that one house had a year emblazoned across the top, I was thrilled. Seeing those years preserved on an historic building has brought me joy since I was a...

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The Hiker: Dashing, debonair, and adventurous…

The Hiker: Dashing, debonair, and adventurous…

A bronze statue stands at the corner of Victory Boulevard and Bay Street in Tompkinsville Park. Dashing, debonair, and adventurous he is called “The Hiker.” This likeness is in honor of Teddy Roosevelt’s First United States Volunteer Cavalry. They were called “The Rough Riders” and they are credited with taking San Juan Hill in Cuba during the Spanish-American War in 1898. It was a victorious charge. “The Hiker” is also said to represent Joseph S. Decker, a Staten Islander who was killed during that war. The late Marjorie Decker-Johnson was a descendant of the young man. According to Mrs. Johnson unbeknownst to his mother, Joseph joined the National Guard. Buried in Cuba, he was disinterred and reburied at the Bethel Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery in...

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A Staten Island Revelation from Eleanor Roosevelt!

A Staten Island Revelation from Eleanor Roosevelt!

I was researching online at the New York Public Library website when I came across a postcard featuring the Vincent Catanese Orchestra in a Staten Island postcard collection. Wondering who Vincent Catanese was, I did an online search. I found information. It was from, of all people, Eleanor Roosevelt. In her “My Day” column for July 6, 1940, Eleanor wrote that she and Franklin were at a ceremony to celebrate his Presidential Library at Hyde Park, New York. In describing the events of the day Mrs. Roosevelt wrote: “At about 6:00 o’clock the President came back… Mr. Bowers sang for us again, accompanied on the guitar by Mr. Vincent Catanese, who has his own orchestra on Staten Island. Mr. Catanese was really remarkable, for he was able to play almost any song...

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Remembering the Old Place Mill…

Remembering the Old Place Mill…

All Staten Island mills were meeting places where farmers could share the latest news while their grain was ground. This began in Old Place around 1804, when a tide mill was built on the Old Place Creek. According to historian Loring McMillen, the mill was near what is now the Goethal’s Bridge toll booth. Early on the mill was owned by Judge Daniel Mersereau, but during 1811, it was up for sale. The ad read “a merchant’s flour mill… with bolts complete, and all the necessary machinery for carrying on an extensive establishment. Also, a saw mill adjoining these premises; a good dwelling house, with two kitchens, and sufficient room for the miller and cooper. A good cooper’s shop, together with 18 acres of good land; a large pond of water and the greatest plenty of...

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