Staten Island Home > History > Timeline
1904: February 9
Curtis High School opens in St. George. Named for the writer, editor, orator George William Curtis.
1905: October 25
The City of New York takes control of the Staten Island Ferry due to dangerous conditions created by private ferry operators.
1906: May 2
Borough Hall in St. George is dedicated.
Procter & Gamble Corporation opens a factory in Mariners Harbor where they produce Ivory Soap and other products for more than 80 years.
Staten Island Lighthouse on Lighthouse Hill begins operation, guiding ships from the Atlantic Ocean into Lower New York Bay.
1912: June 21
Abel Kiviat, a Curtis High School Track Star, wins the Olympic silver medal for the 1,500-meter run in Stockholm, Sweden. He also captures gold with the U.S. 3,000-meter relay team. He is the cabinmate of track great Jim Thorpe on the ship to Sweden.
1913: November 12
Sea View Hospital opens to treat Tuberculosis patients, becoming a national leader in the field.
The New York Bay Oyster industry, long vital to Staten Island's economy, is shut down by the New York City Health Department. Fears of Typhoid caused by the polluted water force the closure. Staten Island Oysters had been considered great delicacies around the United States and Europe. Recent efforts have been made to reintroduce oysters into New York Bay.
World War I. More than 5,000 Staten Islanders join the armed services, more men per capita than any county in the United States. 160 are killed in action. 9,000 workers are employed building steel cargo ships for the war effort at the Standard Shipbuilding Company on Shooter's Island.
Wagner College moves to Staten Island from Rochester, NY. The campus is established on the Cunard Estate, former home of the famed British shipping line's American operations manager. The college has only 16 students at the time.
The former New Dorp farm of William H. Vanderbilt is converted into a coastal air defense station. Named Miller Field air in 1920 for Captain James E. Miller an American airman killed in France during World War I.
The poet Langston Hughes lives and works for a season on a Staten Island farm growing vegetables.
Ground is broken in St. George and Brooklyn for a subway line connecting the two boroughs. It is never completed.
1928: June 20
The Outerbridge Crossing and the Goethals Bridge, both connecting Staten Island to New Jersey, open on the same day.
The Staten Island Stapeltons, a long time Island semi-professional team, joins the National Football League.
1931: November 15
The Bayonne Bridge opens connecting Elm Park, Staten Island and Bayonne New Jersey. It is the longest Steel Arch Bridge in the world when it is completed, just slightly longer than the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Australia.
1936: June 10
The Staten Island Zoo, in Barrett Park, opens.
The US Maritime Service opens a training school for merchant marines on Hoffman Island. By 1943 the school enrolled 1200 students. By 1947 the school outgrew the island and moved to Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.
Staten Island fights World War II. A submarine net stretching from Miller Field across the Narrows prevents attacks by German submarines in New York Harbor. Troops train at Miller Field before being sent to fight in Europe and Africa. 250 Italian Army prisoners of war are housed on Staten Island. Island Anti-aircraft batteries defend New York City against potential air attacks.
1946: June 25
St. George Ferry Terminal is destroyed by fire. Three are dead, 280 injured.
Halloran General hospital is converted from military use to the Willowbrook State Hospital.
The Jacques Marchais Tibetan Museum, modeled after a Tibetan mountain temple, is constructed on Lighthouse Hill. The museum has a large collection of Tibetan art and was visited by the Dalai Lama in 1991.
1948: April 16
Fresh Kills Landfill opens. Planned only as a "temporary" solution to New York's trash disposal problem the landfill will grow to become the world's largest. The landfill operated for more than 50 years.
The Korean War begins. Fears of an air attack on New York City bring Staten Island anti-aircraft batteries back to full strength. The Korean War Veterans Memorial Parkway, formerly the Richmond Parkway, now honors Staten Islanders who served in the Korean conflict.
1951: October 3
Bobby Thomson, "the Staten Island Scot", hits "the shot heard 'round the world" a homerun giving the National League pennant to the New York Giants.
Passenger runs along the North Shore Railroad, connecting St. George and Mariner's Harbor, are abandoned.
"Nike" guided surface-to-air missiles are based at Fort Wadsworth continuing an active military role for the fort which began when the Dutch constructed a block house on the spot in the 1600s.
Staten Island Community College (CUNY) opens in St. George.
Richmondtown Restoration, now called Historic Richmond Town, opens. In Staten Island's answer to Colonial Williamsburg, costumed guides reenact historical Staten Island trades and home life in original historic buildings.
1960 December 16
128 people are killed in a mid-air collision between a TWA plane and a United Airlines plane over Staten Island's Miller Field. The TWA plane rains wreckage down on Miller Field while the United plane flies as far as Park Slope Brooklyn before crashing. It is the worst air disaster in US history to that point.
1964: August 29
Mid-Island Little League defeats Monterrey Mexico 4-0 to win Little League World Series. Islander Dan Yaccarino pitched a no-hitter.
1964: November 21
The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge connecting Staten Island and Brooklyn opens. Othmar Amman, designer of the Bayonne Bridge, designed the bridge. Then the largest suspension bridge in the world, the design had to incorporate the curvature of the earth and seasonal expansions and contractions which drop the roadway twelve feet lower in the summer than the winter. The bridge began a massive building and population boom on the Island that continues into the present day.
1964: December 18
NYC approval is given to establish a "Greenbelt" park reaching from Sea View to New Dorp.
At the first meeting of the newly created New York City Landmarks Commission 6 Sailor's Snug Harbor buildings are designated as landmarks, saving them from demolition.
Geraldo Rivera brings the abuse of disabled students at the Willowbrook State School to national attention. The publicity leads to the closing of the school.
St. John's University opens an Island campus after acquiring the all women's College of Notre Dame.
1973: August 9
The Staten Island Mall opens. Stores in traditional shopping areas such as Port Richmond relocate or close due as the large chain stores gather together in one location.
Thanks in part to the Clean Water Act of 1972, wading birds are first spotted returning to the cleaner waters around Staten Island. By 1994 there were approximately 1300 pairs of wading birds on Shooters Island (43 acres), Prall's Island (80 acres), and the Isle of Meadows (101 acres). New species include ibis, heron, and egret.
The Staten Island Children's Museum opens in a storefront. In 1986 the museum moves to its current location in Snug Harbor Cultural Center.
The Borough of Richmond is officially renamed the Borough of Staten Island.
The last of the retired sailors relocate from Sailor's Snug Harbor to Sea Level, North Carolina.
1976: July 1
New York City takes possession of the Sailor's Snug Harbor. It begins its new life as the Snug Harbor Cultural Center with museums, artists' studios, performance halls and botanical gardens.
1976: July 4
New York Cit celebrates the US Bicentennial with a parade of tall ships in the Narrows and harbor.
Prall's Island in the Arthur Kill is acquired by the New York City Parks system as an 80-acre bird sanctuary.
1985: December 23
The Muslim Majlis Mosque, Staten Island's first Islamic house of worship, is founded in Concord.
The "Teleport" is opened by the Port Authority of NY & NJ providing satellite and fiberoptic telecommunications to businesses.
Several oil spills in New York Harbor turn back many of the gains made by nature in reclaiming the waterways around Staten Island. In January an Exxon pipeline spilled 567,000 gallons of fuel oil into the Arthur Kill damaging an estimated 197 acres of salt marsh and killing about 700 birds. Fortunately, the local herons, ibis and egrets had migrated south at the time.
The Stapleton Homeport opens providing major facilities for the docking of US Navy war ships. It closed in 1994 due to budget cuts.
The College of Staten Island starts moving to its new campus on the grounds of the former Willowbrook State School.
65% of Staten Island voters approve a draft charter for an independent City of Staten Island but the charter is not adopted by the state government.
1996: May 23
The New York State Senate approves the closing of the Fresh Kills Landfill.
2001: September 11
Members of the Al Quaeda terrorist organization hijack and crash two passenger jets into the World Trade Center destroying the building and killing nearly 3,000. Staten Island bears much of the loss of life, nearly 300 residents, with a large numbers of firemen and World Trade Center workers living on Staten Island. The Fresh Kills landfill is chosen to hold the debris from the towers and serves as a crime lab for police investigators searching for human remains.