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,” circa 2016.

“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 Richmond Valley.

“The Hiker” was dedicated in 1916, at what is now the Barrett Triangle, a piece of land that is adjacent to Staten Island’s Borough Hall. Because the statue took a number of hits from careless automobile drivers, it was moved to Tompkinsville Park in 1925. There are said to be several versions of “The Hiker” at various locations throughout the United States.

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