Tuesday, December 27, 2011

With love, Staten Island

  Staten Island was a leading pioneer in many areas of industrial business. We had the first linoleum factory in the USA, a major brick producing company, oyster beds that were known even in England, a terracotta factory that produced, and Sea View hospital, which paved the way to cure TB. We also had a few breweries that employed hundrads of islanders and one particular was using electricity in the late 1800's as well as refridgration. 
  Procter and gamble set up a ivory soap factory here as well which operated from 1908 till 1991. This is where the name Port Ivory came from. The factory was moved to Mexico, leaving behind just this name.
    Staten Island was also the home of Alice Austin, as everyone knows, a brilliant photographer who captured turn of the century innovation throughout the city and surrounding areas. She was a no bull women who believed that a women could do everything that a man could do, only better. She was also an open lesbian in a time where same sex relationships was unheard of.
  We also house the oldest school building in America, the Voorlezer house, which is located in Richmond town. It was built around 1680.
  The Nilla Wafer was invented here as well by confectioner Gustav Mayer who was also an inventor. He owned a shop in Stapleton, but his house still stands on Richmond Rd. Perched lovely on a beautiful piece of land, on top of a hill with vibrant colors.
  Take a look through this blog and you can find pictures and stories and personal stories about most of these topics.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Good Ol' Linoleumville

The town of Travis was originally named Long Neck. This was it's first name. But after a factory called The American Linoleum Manufacturing Company claimed its home in then's Travisville in 1873, the town became Linoleumville. It was right then and there that it became New York's worse neighborhood name, ever. At the time, 2/3 of that area was employed by the company and the area was booming. The factory was the first of its kind in America at the time it opened and took up 300 - acres of land in Travis. The area at the time, was undeveloped, so the started to build houses for workers and in less then 10 years it was a community complete with a Ferry.  This was only one area to be named after a factory on the island, Kreischerville now known as Charelston was named after a  brick factory.
 The factory closed its doors in 1931 and left a vast amount of people unemployed. After its closing there was a town meeting held where people would decide the fate of the towns name. They would vote on either a new name or to keep the old one. The die hards wanted to keep the name of Linoleumville arguing that it was a piece of Staten Island History. In all 4 people voted to retain this name. More then 300 people decided on Travis. This situation was written about in the magazine Time. Follow this link to read it TIME MAG
This is a short post because there is not much more to be said about Travis once called Linoleumville, it was a short lived era on Staten Island and often forgotten by residents. I am going to do a separate post on Travis because as a town Travis has some info to offer, but thats another story.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Conference House References

RISEUP Paranormal






Staten Island's Most Haunted House pt 2 ?

I did not write these stories they are written by others and refer to their own experiences*

Mike says:
May 9, 2006, 12:00 pm
THE CONFRENCE HOUSE has much more activity. When I was a Teen we used to hang out there all hours of the night….one night we were on the front steps of the Confrence house ,like we did many times. But just in front of us about 70-100 feet we saw what looked like a Priest walk over from the Big tree thats in front of the house. He didnt say a word and kind of floated, well lets just say we didnt stick around very long. There also have been reports of people who walk the Cliffs to the left of the house have seen what appears to be Native Americans,and also claim to hear drums.

Cap says:
September 7, 2007, 7:53 pm
I can believe that strange things happen in the Conference House. Forty years ago ( or so ) I was a kid growing up on the Island and had made 2 visits to the house. Once with my school and once with my family. I remembered that I had gotten sick to my stomach on Both occasions and at the same locations in the house. At the “closed up” entrance to the “hidden” tunnel in the cellar and also on the stair landing above the first floor. I vaguely remembered these experiences through my early adulthood but never gave them much thought through the years. Having since moved away from the Island, I found a book on New York Hauntings by Hans Holzer about 10 years ago. When I got to the chapter on the Billop House and Conference house I had not really though too much about it until I read about two different places that Apparitions seemed to appear.
One on the stair landing where an apparent murder was reported as taking place a hundred years ago and the other site –the tunnel entrance where wounded soldiers died enroute into the house from their clandestine missions. That put a chill into my spine and has ever since. 

Curtis Dunlap says:
October 27, 2007, 2:00 am
I have a couple pictures of actual ghosts around that properity there pretty damn good pictures to when you look at them close up and mess with the coloring ,skulls,3 diff spirits one with a black shirt one red and one like ablueish and you can also see what apears to be a full body and a faceless head only with eyes its truel incredible nyhcthreat18 im me at @ or mail me if you wanna see them there great

leeanne says:
March 4, 2008, 11:53 am
i am a total beiliever! i was there a couple of times.the last time i went inside the house i took pictures and theres faces in the mirror in two of the bedrooms! 0_o…and if your there a night,look in th middle window of the top floor,you could see someone,also iff your standing or siting on the pier of lawn of the house @ night,you will hear a womer cry.thats no joke!

• The site of a failed Revolutionary War peace treaty attempt, the Conference House is believed to be one of the most haunted spots on Staten Island. The manor house and surrounding land are said to host apparitions of British soldiers, a young boy, and a woman on horseback.

 We did go to the Conference House park, but not into the house. The CH does not answer requests for investigations from us or any other group that I know of that tried. One other group went during their daytime public tours, but that's it. That doesn't mean I've given up, but there aren't any plans to enter yet! The CH park, by the way, was pretty strange. Cameras wouldn't work, we captured many voices, etc. We actually had someone with us who claimed to be a psychic and she got lots of impressions. Doesn't hold too much weight in our book, but definitely interesting. We posted some of the EVP's here:

when i was younger i used to go to the conference house park a lot (back then it wasnt a park, just the grounds of the house). kristi its funny u mention being creeped out in the basement because a few kids i used to see around there would swear they saw weird things happen in the basement when looking through the outside window. i looked through those windows for a long time and never saw anything, but maybe there was something to it. people also used to tell a story about a bloodstain on the second floor that only appeared when there was a full moon. again, i never believed it and never saw it, but it would be a great place to investigate, if ever given the chance.

When I was a teenager we used to hang out at the conference house alot.... The weird things don't happen at the House itself ...they happen in the woods and grounds around it. We would always hang out on the Cliffs it's on the left side of the conference house... It's old Indian Trails. There is also 2 hidden wells in the woods there where it is said that bodies were found at the bottom when they dried up. I had one experience there that freaked me out....One night about 1 A.M. 3 of us were walking down the cliffs to the grass that goes up to Hylan Blvd. We usually always checked before we came down because cops would sometimes be there ...So we saw that there were no cops and we came down to the lawn. Just as we did my friend pointed out asking what is that when we looked it looked like a Priest hovering about a foot off the ground, not looking at us at all he just started to move toward an old tree That is still there in the front of the house.Well we didn't stick around to check it out we ran like hell. We also have found Pentagrams , animal sacrifice's and other weird things in those woods surrounding the conference house....Check out the surrounding parts , not the actual House It's not haunted
Tour the Billopp House (also known as the Conference House) in Tottenville, a Staten Island neighborhood located at the southwestern extremity of the borough. The last pre-revolution house in existence in New York City, the Billopp house is home to several ghosts, including a little boy that's believed to be Christopher Billopp's grandson, a British guard that continues to stand on duty, servants that blow out candles and rearrange furniture, and a young woman that stares intently out of a second-story window. While touring the inside of the house, listen carefully for mysterious knocks, coughs, sneezes and footsteps. While exiting the property, take note of the large knoll located within the vicinity of the Billop House. This knoll once held the remains of many Native Americans. Since the remains were exhumed in 1897 by a retired Army General, there has been an increase in paranormal activity on the property

according to reports disembodied laughter and invisible voices have been heard coming from the upstairs bedrooms.  There have been reports of seeing a large man running up the stairs toward a girl waiting on the first landing.  As the story goes the cantankerous Capt. Billopp killed a female slave with a crooked knife on that very spot. Hans Holzer, noted parapsychologist, wrote about his findings in great detail in Great American Ghost Stories. He writes that Mrs. Malone, a former caretaker, reported seeing what appeared to be a British soldier.  Psychics feel the Conference House basement kitchen was used as a hospital during the Revolutionary War and British soldiers were buried on the property. This might explain the sighting of Revolutionary War soldier apparitions in the house and garden. There has also been other sightings including a servant girl who fell down a dry well shaft on the property and a child whose body was sealed in a wall.  The child was a victim of a contagious and fatal disease. His parent feared the British soldiers might kill them if their son’s illness was discovered decided to seal his body in a wall of the house. (taken from the book  ‘Haunted History of Staten Island’ written by Lynda Lee Macken)

Justin Malone says:
December 28, 2008, 5:44 pm
I lived in this house for 3 years..(1975-1977)…and what I became “friends” with was a soldier who had died on the grounds. My brother was the first baby to be born in the house in 200 years on January 9, 1977…after he arrived the unusual activity increased…we moved to the corner of Bently and Craig a few months later.

John N. says:
April 29, 2009, 12:21 am
I have studied and been to many of the haunted places in staten island and acctually studied the para normal. In all my studies I can say this, the whole stretch from the beaches of the confrence house to the end of the block which stretches out for about 1000 feet is said to be haunted. The legend is when two lovers go by the conference house Indians ride on horse back can be seen. Also revolutionary soliders and their wives can be seen walking by the water (which thank to certian women cannot be done at night anymore). I tried to interview the woman who lives in the house and i was told by her there is no way she will tell me about the house.

At one point a demonstration of yarn spinning was scheduled in a room and after the props were set up, the house was vacated and its doors locked for the night. The following day it was discovered upon returning that yarn and related materials were tossed about all over the room. Another manifestation seem in the children's room centers around a tour guide who - upon entering the room one day - saw the indentation of a handprint on the bed located there. Stranger still, was the woman's observing the print begin to fade away while she looked on.
There are also two related stories that have Col. Billopp stabbing a disobedient (or sexually unwilling) female servant with the poker from a fireplace and that of a nanny named Elizabeth whose had fallen in love with a local farmer, inciting anger in Col. Billopp who felt she had been "stolen" away from him. He immediately put out a warrant for her arrest. Elizabeth would eventually grow despondent over her husband's death some years later and hang herself. It is surmised that at least one of these three women haunt the Conference House.

Another spirit spotted has been that of a British soldier, in full redcoat dress. His ghost was seen by the young son of a Conference House caretaker sometime in the 1970s. The boy told his parents the soldier had woken him from sleep and patted him on his head. At first dismissing the story, the parents were nonetheless intrigued by their young son's all-too-accurate description of the uniform which a Tory soldier would wear in that era. In fact, there have been sightings of numerous British soldiers walking the grounds over the years.

Staten Island's Most Haunted House pt 1?

Where can I even start on this topic? Not only is this house really important to the history of our island, but of all America too. Not only that, but what about before it was apart of the Revolutionary War? How about after, with its notorious hauntings that have been told to every man, child, and women through out the decades. It is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, its a U.S. National Historic Landmark, and also a NYC Landmark.

That being said, we are lucky to have it. It sits on the southern most tip of New York State, and marks the end of New York. No one knows exactly when it was built or how old it really is but according to one of the oldest maps we have of the Island it was there in the year 1680. The house was named after Thomas Billopp, though him and his family called it Bentley Manor while they lived there, but it sat on Billopp point. Thomas Billopp was a captain in the Royal Navy and came to America in 1674. He was granted land on the southern most tip of Staten Island, where he built or had built his house that he called Bentley manor. It is thanks to Billopp that Staten Island is apart of NY rather then NJ, he was told if he could walk the whole circumference of the island in one day that it would be apart of NY, and that is exactly what he did (thank god!). Prior to this, these grounds where reported haunted since it was a burial grounds to the Raritan band of the Lenape Indians. The remains of a small child and 2 older adults where dug up here, it is unknown how old they really are. The burial ground is called Burial Ridge and is the oldest Pre-European burial ground in NYC. Aside from that, while the Billopps lived here it was the center of a murder scandal. A servant women was supposedly killed here by Billopp and its been reported that her figure appears every now and then. Some one sent me this story on what may have happened to the girl:
"Colonel Billop himself was a very forceful and unforgiving man, given to frequent fits of rage. During the war Colonel Billop was frequently kidnapped and held for ransom by the colonists. Colonel Billop became convinced someone in his house was informing the revolution of when he was in the house. Legend has it that one evening Colonel Billop saw a servent girl place a lamp in an upper floor window. Colonel Billop took this to be a signal to the revolution that he was home and proceed to accuse the girl of being a spy. He chased her through the upper floor to the downward stairs. It is not clear whether the Colonel pushed the girl down the stairs trying to kill her or she fell to her death trying to get away from Billop."

Christopher Billopp died on one of his trips to London in 1725 and left his daughters in charge of the Bentley Manor. The only daughter that had children bore a son in 1737 and he was named after his grandfather, born in the house and inherited it. He later went on to fight in the war and was named a Colonel. Before the war, He was in charge of the military on Staten Island and was active in making communication with NJ prohibited. When the Revolutionary War began he was an active member in fighting it. On July 16, 1784 He was taken prisoner by New Jersey and his house was taken from him. It was sold to Thomas McFarren, a merchant, for 4.695 pounds. This Christopher Billopp died in Canada in 1827. Only his two younger sons stayed in New York and became business men after the family moved to Canada.

On September 11th, 1776 a peace conference was held at the former Bentley Manor. To name a few people who attended this peace conference was Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, the purpose of this conference was to settle on an agreement to end the war. As we no the agreement was never made and the war continued for some time after. The conference house was at the time the British Headquarters, and where a lot of the Red Coats sought out food and shelter.
* I am going to do a post on stories of hauntings separately 

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Ferry Boat That Sunk

CROWDED FERRYBOAT SUNK IN COLLISION; Staten Island Boat Northfield Hit by the Mauch Chunk. TERRIBLE PANIC ON BOARD Fleet of Tugs Follows and Aids the Doomed Vessel. NO LOSS OF LIFE REPORTED It Is Thought, However, that Several Persons Must Have Been Drowned -- Some Passengers Injured, but None Dangerously -- Charges of Cowardice Against Men. 

-NY Times Headline

One has to wonder why the Staten Island Ferry has so many crashes in its history. 

The Northfield ferry was pulling out of the terminal at White Hall on June 14, 1901, as it did every other day to make a return trip to Staten Island's terminal in St. George. At this time the ferry was still apart of Staten Island Rapid Transit Railroad Company, owned and operated by the B & O railroad. The reason for this was that Staten Island had only become part of the 5 boroughs shortly before hand, and wouldn't give over ownership of the transportation line that ran through the island. The greater New York used the sinking of the Northfield Ferry in their advantage, and shortly there after the line became apart of the city of New York. The explosion of the Westfield ferry was far more tragic with the loss of life and the apparent lack of knowledge some of the crew had. Upon pulling out and starting its ride, it was struck by another ferry called The Mauch Chunk. It was a ferry used by New Jersey at the time, in the line that connected Hoboken to Manhattan. It was 6:00 in the evening when the Northfield started to pull out of her slip at Whitehall, she wasn't even fully into New York Harbor at the time of impact. The wheelsman on the Northfield blew out the whistle twice to try to warn the Mauch Chunk, as he also says he blew the whistle twice before even pulling out of the slip, common practice to warn others of your presence. The other ferry responded with its own whistle and tried to get out of the way or "hook the engine " as reports say. The front of the Northfield met with impact the side of the Chunk. Pretty much demolishing the Northfield, there ending the 38 year run as a ferry boat to Staten Island.

Its a little unclear what exactly happened, the Northfield felt he was on the proper course so he kept moving in to Staten Island, but this is not consistent with the Chunks drivers testimony. The police department insisted that no one was killed, but they where wrong, about 5 people where in fact killed on the Northfield. Some where not discovered until the ferry was inspected by divers the next day, one body washed up on shore in Greenville, NJ, across the New York Harbor a week after the fact. Even though the death toll amoung humans was mostly low, it was not however for the 12 teams of horses that was on board the ship at the time, they where all lost.

Damage control was put into effect as soon as the two boats struck, the cities big fire boat, The New Yorker, arrived on the scene almost immediately to help rescue the 800 people on board. As with most tragedies there is always a hero and in the case of this tragedy the hero was Manuel Fernandez. He was standing in pier 10 at the time and started pulling people out of the water. He pulled a women out of the water and handed her over to a rescue boat. He then grabbed a small child from a women aboard the Northfield and jumped on to the Unity the boat that was picking up survivors. After he safely delivered the baby he jumped back in to the East River to save another, older child. The captain of the boat stayed on the ferry and supervised the evacuation and did not leave the Northfield until water was lapping into the ferries wheelhouse. By this time the Northfield was laid out on the muddy floor of the river, sunken.

The next day when divers where sent down to inspect the damage and raise the boat, they realized that there was no way of saving the Northfield. A week later the ferry was sitting in Brooklyn in a dry dock. The damage was total. She was crushed and cut open and there was no way of fixing her.Her captain, Johnson, was arrested and so was the Chunk's captain the following day. They were arrested and brought in to give their own statements as to what had happened and the reason as to why they had collided to begin with. The state of New York wanted to take over the S.I.R.T so badly and i assume they were using this accident in their favor. The blame was placed on the fact that the Staten Island's ferry boats where not proper boats for what they where being used for. In 1899 it was said in a commitee meeting by Staten Island Chamber of Commerce that "Middleton, Westfield, and Northfield are in no manner, and by no means adequate for the service for which they are intended, being to small, poorly ventilated, and at times ill smelling. The sanitary arrangements on these boats are abdominal". The crash may have happened because the two boats had to cross paths because the Northfield had the slip closer to Jersey where as the Chunk had the one on the other side of the Northfield, making them have to cross ways. This conclusion was thought up by a random New York Times reader, that the New Jersey Transit should have used the first slip, and the S.I.R.T should use the second. It should have been clear after the Northfields sister ship, the Westfield had the same brush with the boat Howard Carolle, under the same circumstances. During the trial, it was frowned upon that the Mauch Chunk kept on its track pulling into Whitehall and did not try to assist the doomed Northfield. The captain dropped off his riders and turned right back around to NJ, making him out of immediate reach of NY. Both captains where suspended for 30 days. But they where a little more easy on Johnson because the Northfield was so old, that her hull was not divided into water tight doors, thus resulting in her sinking. it was said that "Northfield is a very old boat and should have been condemned a long time ago".  Another issue was that the life jackets on the Northfield where hard to get to and passengers complained about this fact, as it caused hysteria. Also the lack of life vests, since there was only 318 on board at any given time, never the less it was still right by law. 

And so that was the end of the sailing of the Northfield ferry.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"She put up a Helleva Fight" - Jessica Tush's Story

Please Join the Jessica Tush Act on FB causes!

"Jessica was an amazing girl who was full of life. Her unfortunate end brought on by her ex-boyfriend is a sad reminder how dangerous domestic violence is. Her trusting nature is what betrayed her, since she was smart enough to break it off with the scum Thomas Paolino. Spread her story and lets not let her death be in vain."

Rest In Peace 
Dec 28th, 1988 - April 2nd, 2008
Jessica Tush

On April 2, 2008 Jessica Tush left her house for work. She worked at the Staten Island Mall at BCBG. When she got out of work her ex-boyfriend, Thomas Paolino, was outside waiting for her. They had broken up prior to this encounter because of his abusive behavior towards Jessica. Its reported that she had came into work with 2 black eyes prior to her murder. Thomas persuaded Jessica to get into his car so that they could go visit a memorial for a friend, Andrew Clark, who had died tragically days earlier in New Jersey in a car crash. That night was his wake and Jessica was to attend it. E-ZPass records show Thomas was in New Jersey around the time of the murder. Its unclear what really went down in the car between them, but its thought that text messages Jessica was sending to her current boyfriend may have sent Thomas into a rage. She was reported missing when friends and family started to worry after she never showed up to the wake, and stopped texting her friends. 
Jessica's parents and her murder
Her body was found, 2 days later, in a shallow grave near the road side memorial for Clark, by hikers. She was found buried in Wharton State Forest in Bass River Township, N.J. It appeared she was strangled and beaten, as she had many bruises. When Thomas was taken in for questioning it was apparent something was not right. His alibi didn't match up with his E-ZPass records, or his cell phone hits. He had scratches and bite marks all over his neck and arms. When asked about this he did not give any reason for the marks on his body. The memorial for Clark was tossed over the lose soil that covered her body. This led investigators to question if Andrew Clark's girlfriend, who lived near by, had something to do with the slaying. His girl friend was driving behind him when he crashed his car into a tree. Hopes that DNA would be found under her nails, would prove where Thomas had gotten his wounds from. The cause of death was determined to be from "asphyxia due to strangulation and sharp force injuries to the neck." By the coroner's report.

Thomas Paolino plead guilty to strangling Jessica Tush, and is facing 23 1/2 years in prison. Is this fair? Not at all. A family is left grieving for their beautiful daughter who is forever 19 years old. Friends are left asking questions and missing a wonderful friend. Her boyfriend is left lonely and haunted by what ifs? While he will be out by the time he is 40 years old. He will move on, possibly get married and have children. Hopefully he will have a daughter, so he can feel what it would be like to lose such a thing in life. Domestic violence lives all around us. It does not discriminate against age, or looks, not even race. It lives everywhere, and young girls go un-educated about the situation. Sure they know that a man should never hit a women, but they can not see the signs in the way he talks or acts or the way he handles situations. Harsh words and controlling everyday life are a form of domestic violence, it is the start of a long road that is painful and can have a devastating outcome such as Jessica's. She is one of many young girls that are killed at the hands of someone who "loves" them.

Jessica Tush's mother has had to endure harsh words from childish kids online, she has had to defend her daughter in this situation, and that is unbelievable: In a comment posted on silive.com, Dina Tush also takes issue with one reader's comment suggesting that Jessica Tush caused an argument with Thomas Paolino and that he was defending himself. "Thomas Paolino beat, strangled and stabbed Jessica in the throat possibly multiple times, enough to rip at 3 inch hole out of her throat. He stuffed her in a plastic bag and later threw her in a water filled hole and threw some dirt over her," she wrote under the screenname grievingmom.  How could another young girl even suggest that that be a reasonable explanation for an outcome like Jessica's?

Jessica's brave mother is setting out to keep her daughter alive in the law. The "Danielle DiMedici and Jessica Tush Act," named for the two domestic violence victims, is a law that would make a statewide registry for domestic violence offenders that would be accessible by civilians as well as law enforcement. Sort of like a sex offender registry. The other is the "Jessica Tush Act"-Educational Bil, this will provide New York State schools with curriculum in dating abuse and domestic violence. The causes page I have linked to the top of this post is the link that her mother had set up in hopes of people joining it to get the bill passed. They need 5,000 people to join. Please go there and join, lets break the cycle. 

 in loving memory of the victims lost to domestic violence. <3 if you or anyone you know are being victimized please call: or visit my myspace at www.myspace.com/break_tha_cycle

Thursday, February 3, 2011

These Old Streets

A British officer wrote in 1776 about Staten Island: "Surely this country is the Paradise of the world...the inhabitants of this Island are tall, thin, narrow shouldered people, very simple in their manners, know neither Poverty nor Riches, each house has a good farm, and every man a trade, they know no distinction of Persons, and I am sure must have lived very happily till these troubles."

 After doing a lot of research on Staten Island, I kept seeing a lot of the last names in documents matched a few street names that i knew and had seen. So here is a list of street names and a little history about them.

Amboy Rd - Amboy road is one out of nine of the oldest streets on our island. It went from one side of the island straight to the ferry on the other side. It was most known for its straight way to the ferry.

Lovelace - Governor Lovelace had signed a treaty prohibiting the use of Native Americans as slaves

Flagg St. - Named after a famed architect that built extravagent houses in Grasemere.

 Giffords Lane - named after Daniel Gifford, a local commissioner and road surveyor. Great Kills used to be named Gifford before it was changed in 1865

Fingerboard Road - The road once had a large finger-shaped sign pointing the direction to the county courthouse at Richmondtown. And people would say make a turn at the fingerboard. 

Victory Blvd-  Used to be named Richmond Turnpike was built in 1816 

Van Pelt Ave - A well known family and maiden name of  Polly Bodine's victim and sister-in-law, Emeline.

Housman Ave - Last name of the fisherman's family that fell victim to Polly Bodine. Emeline's married name. 

Seguine Ave - Named after descendants of the French Huguenots who were among the South Shore's earliest settlers. This was their last names. 

Yetman Ave . - This street was named for Hubbard R. Yetman, teacher, justice of the peace, state assemblyman, and first Borough Superintendent of Schools in Richmond County. Yetman lived at 5336 Arthur Kill Rd., at the southeast corner of Yetman Ave. The house was built by William Joline, Yetman's father-in-law, ca. 1845. Yetman Ave. was originally mapped as William Street, possibly to honor Joline. In the 1890's, it was popularly referred to as Hogan's Alley. The street was graded and paved in 1896,  more than a year earlier than the town's most important road, Main St.

 Butler Ave.- Named after Daniel Butler, a man who made his living in the Staten Island oyster trade. He lived and owned land on and around the corner of Butler and Amboy Rd.

Hylan Blvd . - Named in honor of John Francis Hylan (1868-1936). He was the Mayor of New York City from 1918 to 1925. Hylan Blvd. was constructed in 1927.  A median, though short-lived, ran down the center of the road from Page Ave. to the Conference House.  And Hylan Blvd. continued to the water's edge, not ending at Satterlee St., where the Pavilion is today.

Fisher Ave.- The Fisher family came to Tottenville in the early 1800's. They owned a few acres of land and built one of their earliest houses that still stands today, to face the Arthur Kill. It was later turned in order to accomadate the newly opened road Fisher ave.. Before the 1940's traffic crossed the railroad tracks on Fisher to take Broadway, also known as today's Arthur Kill, into Richmond Valley.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Kreischerville's Rise and Fall

Balthasar named his mansion Fairview, it sat on top of a steep hill in Kreischerville.
The Kreischer Mansion was built in 1885 by a man named Balthasar Kreischer. Balthasar was a wealthy and successful brick manufacture who learned what he knew of brick making in Europe before he immigrated here in 1836.  He built this house along with another similar house for his son and daughter in law as a wedding gift.The other one burnt down ( reason unknown) after a very heated father/son fight, and the newlyweds were killed. From what I have heard the fight was very serous and Balthasar and his son where at each others throats. They weren't able to get over the fight and his son died while they were still fighting. The remaining mansion was turned into a restaurant and was said to be haunted. People reported doors slamming and lights turning on and off. I found a couple stories of the hauntings:

this is definitely i worked at the restaurant for about two weeks. i was a busboy there, and one night i waas sent into the basement to get supplies for the owner. i heard a door shut in the back of the basement. wondering who it was i went to the back and found nothing. after hearing some more suspicious noises i went back upstairs without the supplies. what i heard sounded like argueing but i was sure there was no one there. i quit my job there shortly after.-Chris

OMG! this place is freaky. 2 years ago a bunch of friends and I idled our car in front of the house. My friend (driver) started yelling at the house and siad that the guy dserved to bed dead and such… and some old guy in a pin-strip suit walked through the gate and made a swipe at the window. I screamed for my friend to hit the gas… turns out noone else saw the guy walk and the car and swip it…
Freaky part: after we were driving away finger marks streaked down the window on that side. My friend (driver again) goes “Oh yea… prove your here” “H-E-L-L-O” appeared backwards on the rear window so he could read it trhough his rearview mirror.
Needless to say I got outta that car ASAP. - Kabbit
Very Rare picture of the two houses together, this is the ONLY one I have found.

When I was a teen I used to hang out Feedback Studios which was right up the road from the Kreisher Mansion. This building intrigued me so much I did a day of research at the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences on the house. Balthazar Kreisher built the twin mansions for his sons, he did not inhabit any of the buildings. He had georgian style mansion that overlooked the brick factory. His mansion no longer exists.
Before the firs of the house, his son’s wife was having an affair with Dr. Washington who had his office and house on Main Street in Tottenville. In fact, his house still stands and a friend of mine’s parents still live there. The house is catty corner to the 123 precint. The last time I was there the house was yellow.(I now live in Savannah, Ga) Anyways, B’s son’s wife left her husband and then the house mysteriously burnt down. The fireplaces and some of the fixtures in the Dr. Washington house were actually salvaged from the Kreisher Mansion fire.
Now I have no doubt that the standing Kreisher Mansion is haunted. An ex friend of mine has pictures that prove to me that there are people still there. The last thing I have heard about the mansion is that the property was sold to a property developer that is making an old folks living community. With these changes there have been a ton of changes to the house, which saddens me. It’s a beautiful piece of architecture. - Michelle

this is indeed true my parents owned the resturant that once ocupied the house strange things happined daily we have since shut down the resturant and opened more profitable businesses but we still own the house ive also found that the house makes a greatt setting for a halloween party its a sure fire way 2 scare the sh*t out of my friends - James


My grandparents, father and myself all grew up in Charleston, Staten island. My grandfather once told my father a story of how when he was a little kid (early 1900s)on halloween they went running through the yard of the mansion. One kid ran into legs and somebody had hung themselve in the tree right near the house. Maybe that person has somethign to do with the encounters. I also think that the history is incorrect, I think there was 3 mansions built two next to eachother and one across the road. My aunt used to knwo the poepl whome lived there as a house right before it bacame a resturant. I would be scared sh*t to live there. -Charles Kosa

What interesting is that this family supplied most of the area with its bricks, definitely all of Staten Island, and some of Brooklyn. You can still find some of them in brick work that hasn't been up rooted or destroyed. The business started out being run by two people, Balthasar and his partner Charles Mumpeton, who wound up passing away. The company was first called under the New York branch of The New York & Staten Island Fire-Brick and Clay Retort Works, Kreischer & Mumpeton, it was originally established in 1845. And so it stayed that way until about 1849, when Mumpeton died and Kreischer hired his nephew to help out around the factory along side his 3 sons. With the discovery of the abundant amount of clay that was found in the area around the Sandy Grounds up to what we know today as Charleston, the business flourished.
Post office
In 1863 a post office opened in Kreischerville, named obviously after the family and their business. It closed in 1879 but was then reopened in 1886. It was located on Kreischer and Androvette St. The little town also included a church, a town store, and a small school.
Its one of Staten Island's mysteries, what happened to the Kreischer family? We know that some of them are buried in a cemetery in Brooklyn, but as to where they went and where the descendants are is unknown. Balthasar died in 1886 and the factory burnt down a few years later and then was rebuilt, though the business never really recovered. Under the pressure of a failing business one of the 2 remaining sons shot and killed himself and his widow is said to still haunt the site as well. 

After the restaurant closed down and the house was undergoing renovations to become housing for the elderly, the mansion became a sight for mob slayings. It became the scene of  a crime commented against a man named Robert McKelvey, he was killed by Bonanno family associates over a "bad debt" after being lured to the house by the groundskeeper and mob associate Joseph "Joe Black" Young. McKelvey was strangled, stabbed, and drowned in a pool on the site. After they cut up his body, they burned it in the mansions inferno. Investigators went looking for the furnace for evidence, but by the time they started looking it had been replaced because of the renovations. 

* Courtney Hayes My old neighbor murdered a man in Kreischer Mansion .. His house was soon raided by the FBI one lovely morning while I was leaving for school, and he is now in prison for life ;D Ahh I loved that house in Pleasent Plains lolol

Her neighbor did in fact kill McKelvey. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hylan BLVD, Snake Hill, GreatKills, Arthur Kill rd in the 1980's (videos)


 1) Hylan Blvd. Staten Island August 1983 Great Kills To Tottenville

2) Staten Island Richmond Town Snake Hill Latourette 1983

3)Arthur Kill Rd (Pt.1)Staten Island August 1983 Kreischer/Outer Bridge

4)Arthur Kill Rd. Pt. 2 August 1983 Black Garter Century Inn 


The video quality is poor but still you can see things you recognize and I still lovee the videos because it really captures what me and my friends used to do on a hot summer day on the island, just cruising around. Hope you enjoy! 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sea View: Embolishment of The White Plague

Sea View Hospital was not always a hospital, it started out as a poor house in 1829 called The Farm Colony. In its day it was extravagant and prestigious, very well known. When the hospital opened as Sea View Tuberculosis Hospital on October 28, 1912 it was considered to be the finest in the country for the treatment of TB, also known as 'the white plague'. In all there was 8 patient buildings that formed a semi circle, a children's hospital, and a rehab center that had 6 units. In all the total amount of beds the hospital had was 1.402, but with added beds it could accommodate 1,682 beds. The largest amount it ever held was 2,000 in a census that was taken in 1940-41. The final cost of the hospital was four million dollars, which was twice the amount that was originally estimated.


The buildings where decorated with beautiful, and expensive Terracotta murals. I have in fact seen them on the old broken down buildings and wondered why no one has taken them down to preserve. A lot of fancy and expensive things in Staten Island where decorated with Terracotta because of the factory on the island at the time. But the story is different for these because they were made by a company in Holland called Joost Thooft & Labouchere. They made the murals using a technique called Sectile. The difference was that each piece of the terracotta was shaped to the lines of the design, instead of the design being divided over a number of tiles. This company was the first and only at the time to do this between the years of 1900 - 1910. This makes these murals very rare and actually, the best sectile work in America. The architect that designed the hospital, Raymond F. Almirall sketched out these murals to add something a little light to the atmosphere. They where extracted from the decaying buildings sometime after 2005 and now hang in the main building.

There is so much to be said about this place that we now see as ruins and haunted by its mental patients, but was it even a mental ward? 

 I can find absolutely no evidence to support the claim that Seaview was ever a mental hospital. I think what gets people confused, is that the Willowbrook State School was very nearby. The school wasn't built for years after Sea View was, but that school was knocked down and Seaview still remains. We pass by it all the time on Brielle Ave. It does look scary so I guess we just assume that it has a violent history, but in fact Sea View was a historical place where many discoveries where made. By the 1960's the medical staff at Sea view was discovering new medicine, they invented something called isoniazids, this was a treatment for TB. With the new medicine the demand for TB beds went down drastically and therefore Sea View in a way put itself out of business. This medicine, along with fresh air cured TB. The hospital was advance, they even had special houses that had ceilings that opened up to let in the fresh air. In whole the campus had 37 buildings. According to Wikipedia this is the list of houses:  Administration Building (1913), Surgical Pavilion (1913), Nurses Residence (1913, addition 1932), Staff House (1913), Power House / Laundry and Ambulance Complex (1912, addition 1935), Kitchen and Dining Hall Group (1912), and Women's Pavilions (1909-1911). Sanatorium additions include the Auditorium or "New Dining Hall" (1917, now known as Colony Hall), Group Building (1917), and Men's and Women's Open Air Pavilions (1917). Later buildings include the Catholic Chapel and Rectory (1928), City Mission Chapel or Chapel of St. Luke the Physician (1934), Pathology Lab (1927-1928), Children's Hospital (1935-1937), Sputum House (1911 / 1932), and Richmond County Isolation Hospital (1928)
Because the hospital was going to go out of business with the cure of TB, the Farm Colony was turned into a 1,400 bed hospital for older patients with aging problems such as Alzheimers. Since then Sea View has stuck with its purpose of being a home and hospital as well as a rehab center for older patients as well as younger ones with brain injuries or other server injuries. If you ever find yourself visiting Sea View, make sure you stop by the museum that is housed right on the site, it takes you on a visual walk though on the history of the place. 

This is only the 1st post I am doing on Sea View, this post is to simply cover the past of the hospital, such as what it really was and what good it actually did for history and TB. The next post I do will be more about the Sea View we see today, the abandoned and presumed haunted Sea view. As well as my own stories, since after all I spent two years going to school there.