Saturday, November 05, 2011

Once Upon a Farm

  Once Staten Island was covered in farms.  Even when I was a boy in the early seventies some lingered on before succumbing to the bank accounts and bulldozers of developers. The last one I remember sat on Forest Avenue near the old Majors department store in Mariners' Harbor (where Lowes and Kohl's sit.  It couldn't have had much land and it vanished when the street was widened (and this is all only the barest of memory and wide open to correction from you folks).
   Willowbrook was, apparently, part of the heartland of the Staten Island farming district.  It was well watered by the stream of the same name that ran through it.  Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church and Chrampanis Farms are remnants of the Greek farming community.  Immanuel Lutheran lingers from the German farmers long gone to New Jersey and points unknown.

573 Watchogue Road, May 1932

Same place, today

Aerial view, 1924

   That little pink splotch is the house and all the patchwork quilt around it is farmed land.  It shows up, unnamed, on the 1874 maps but I have no idea how old it is.  I would guess early 19th century but that is only a guess.  The farm appears to be carved out of a much larger piece of property belonging to the De Puy family, presumably one of the old Dutch families.
   Now, except for the odd placement of the side windows (which, I know, you can't see in the modern picture), you'd probably never suspect how out of time the house really is.    Under that siding is probably nearly two hundred year old wood shingle.  Very cool.


Unknown said...

This is awesome. Thank you!

The Wasp said...

Your quite welcome