If you don't know where you are, you don't know who you are. ~ Wendell Berry
In 2009, the highly acclaimed, award-winning book, Tottenville, the Town the Oyster Built, was published jointly by the Preservation League of Staten Island and the Tottenville Historical Society. The book began as a resource survey of the community's historic architecture in 2004. Although many buildings had already been destroyed or defaced, Tottenville still retained a large number of 19th century buildings worthy of recognition and preservation. As defacement and demolition became more widespread, it became clear that the stories they told about the early history of the village needed to be recorded. These structures and their stories became the foundation for the book.
Historian Barnett Shepherd, author of the Tottenville book, sends a message of hope in the final chapter as follows: The publication of this book will assist residents new and old in rediscovering the history of the small coastal town that is still part of Tottenville. As the transition to a suburban culture becomes more complete, we can only hope that the residents of Tottenville may not be condemned to live without a sense of their past and their community. We can hope that the next generation of Tottenville citizens, especially new residents, will embrace the history of this small coastal town which the oyster built.
The Tottenville Historical Society has researched more than 350 buildings to determine the approximate date of construction and biographical information about the original owner. Learn more about researching the history of your home and the services we offer here: Research Services/House History.
Learn more about the history of Tottenville in Tottenville, the Town the Oyster Built, available in our Online Store.
Learn more about the history of the Charleston community in our new book, Know That They Thrived Here, The History of Charleston (Kreischerville), available only through our Gift Shop.