and  NEW  YORK General Historical Information Prior to 1927

      Since Staten Island became part of New York City it has shared in the
development of the great metropolis. It is felt, however, that the
transportation facilities have not kept pace with the borough's growth, and
this is in part due to its peculiar situation, divided from Manhattan by a
broad harbor and from Brooklyn by the Narrows. The operation of the
Municipal Ferry opened a new era of prosperity, and trolley lines are now
bringing isolated communities in closer touch. Later it is hoped the Staten
Island Tunnel will bring the island also within the subway system. There are
over 100 houses of worship in the borough and many of the churches are of
historic interest. There are numerous charitable institutions, many of the
leading organizations of that character in New York having branches in the
      As the ferry boat approaches St. George the stranger is sure to be
impressed by the high stretch of land just back of the ferry slips. Crowning
the summit is a large greystone building, whose square towers and massive
proportions stand out very clearly. This is the Curtis High School. It is a
good indication of the interest in education in the borough. The Richmond
Borough schools belong to the New York system, but the buildings are usually
more commodious than those in the city and the schools have larger
playgrounds and more cloistered situations. There are over fifty elementary
schools with a total attendance of over 20,000 pupils. The introduction of
public lectures has proved an important element. The Staten Island Academy
was founded in 1884, and the course of study extends from the kindergarten
to college entrance. There are also several private schools, among them St.
Peter's Academy, New Brighton; Westerleigh Institute, the Augustan Academy,
Grimes Hill, and the St. Louis Academy.
      There are four important hospitals. Of these the one most often seen,
because in plain view of the harbor and of the railroad, is the Marine
Hospital at Clifton. The establishment of United States Marine hospitals is
a long story, dating back to 1798, the object being to enable seamen of the
merchant marine, when sick or disabled, to be cared for by the general
government. U.S. Marine hospitals are established at the larger ports and at
the smaller ports the government rents wards in a municipal or private
hospital, where the sailors are cared for by a commissioned officer of the
service. The hospital building and grounds for the Port of New York were
rented by the government in 1883 and purchased from the Marine Society of
New York City in 1903. The hospital was built seventy or eighty years ago,
but the government has remodeled it, Congress appropriating $250,000 for the
purpose. In addition there are the Smith Infirmary, St. Vincent's Hospital,
St. John's Guild, and some lesser places.
      Staten Island is coming to the fore also as an amusement ground for
New Yorkers. Within easy access are two pleasant resorts, Midland Beach and
South Beach. Both lie on the south shore of the island and have much of that
variety of entertainment which has made Coney Island famous. The large
casino at Midland Beach has a large skating  Rink. At South Beach there is a
fine pier where there is good fishing. The roads throughout the borough have
been continually improved and automobilists continue to increase at a great
rate. The population  of Staten Island was 130,697 at the last estimate. The
island is hilly and contains much excellent farming land. Its length is more
than thirteen miles, its greatest width seven and three-quarter miles, and
it has thirteen miles of ocean frontage. Quaint old ports are scattered
along the south shore and odd little villages in the interior. But
interspersed everywhere are the modern and luxurious country residences of
wealthy New Yorkers, who go back and forth daily. Richmond, the judicial
seat of the island when it was Richmond County, is some distance from the
railroad, but accessible by trolley cars from St. George.  Some idea of the
island's relation to Manhattan is the fact that the ferry carried, in 1922,
22,223,612 passengers and 751,305 vehicles.

Source:  History of New York State 1523-1927
Publisher:  Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc.-New York, Chicago.
Copyright:  1927   Volume I and V

                 Transcribed by Miriam Medina