Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Staten Island "Castle"

How beautiful is this? Known as Staten Island's Castle, but named S. R. Smith Infirmary. It was built in 1887 but opened in 1890, that makes it 123 years old. The history of this hospital runs deep, and the need to preserve it runs deeper. Look at it now:

After being abandoned for 31 years, there isn't much left. Covered in graffiti, and all boarded up. Though still beautiful. Amazingly the main structure remains in pretty good tact, but the inside is a whole other story. I am not really sure why the Landmark commission over looks this structure. With the current restoration of the old Sea View Hospital going on it seems very possible that this too could be saved. But then again what do I know?

      In 1861, a small hospital was established. It was a one room infirmary and severed the Island's 25,000 population. 3 years later it was relocated to Tompkins Ave. and renamed to S. R Smith. In a year end report dated in 1868 the total of patients was 88 and 57 of them where listed "cured". This was the 1st not-for-profit voluntary hospital in Staten Island. Also the first Charity Ball was held in honor of the hospital.

Much happened in the year of 1890, as the hospitals funds grew so did the need to accomadate a larger amount of people. So the Infirmary moved for the third time to a 6 acre site on Castleton Ave in New Brighton. By the end of that 1st year in its new location the Infirmary treated 346 inpatients and 600 out patients. The year of 1890 was big in the medical field, it was the year insect born infections was discovered. In 1898 military ships sailed into Snug Harbor with soldiers that were wounded in the Spanish-American war, they were treated at this facility. The name was officially changed in 1913 to The Staten Island Hospital.

 For a complete time line on the history of the hospital click HERE:

Inside staircase

Icame across a facebook page that is dedicated to protecting this structure, getting it land marked and restoring and using it. They do tours and rallies. On November 21st they are holding a meeting at the corner of Castleton Ave and Oxfordave and Cebra, New Brighton from 1-3.!/pages/Save-the-Castle-aka-SR-Smith-Infirmary/262347164433

The above link is to their facebook page.

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