Tottenville, the Town the Oyster Built

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Softcover edition of the comprehensive history of Tottenville; 262 pages; over 290 images.
Sales price $25.00
Description

This award-winning, comprehensive history of Tottenville documents the activities of the people who created and helped develop Tottenville.  The buildings they built, the institutions they created, and their struggles to adapt to changing regional developments are the subjects of this book.

During the 18th century, members of the Totten family arrived.  The early generations of Tottens established themselves as successful craftsmen and farmers. They became local gentry, leading church and community. Then comes the oyster! Tottenville became the town the oyster built. Although oysters had been growing since time immemorial in the brackish waters of the Arthur Kill, the Raritan Bay and Prince’s Bay, the activities of planting and harvesting them created new industries and made men wealthy. From 1840 to around 1900 everything in Tottenville centered around oysters—their cultivation, harvesting, shipment and sale, and all the services needed to keep that going such as shipbuilding, ship repair, blacksmithing and sail-making.

 

** RATED ONE OF THE STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE TOP 10 STORIES IN 2009!  **

#10.  TOTTENVILLE HISTORY

Staten Island author and historian Barnett Shepherd unveiled his latest historical book, “Tottenville: The Town the Oyster Built,” in January.

Subtitled “A Staten Island Community, Its People, Industry and Architecture,” the 265-page account explores the roots of Tottenville, which started out as an oystering community in 1865.

Many of the 19th-century photographs have never been seen before, and the stories are just as obscure.

Dedicated to Tottenville Historical Society executive director Linda Cutler-Hauck and trustees Tina Kaasmann-Dunn and Diane Schaming, who helped kick-start the research back in 2005, the book could go a long way to the filing of a multiple-property document with the Staten Island Historic Preservation Office that would landmark a number of Tottenville buildings.

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