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Wilderness to Cultivated Gardens: Horticulture on Staten Island

This guide supplements the Early American Botany of Staten Island exhibit that can be seen in the Library's Gallery during the summer months.

Staten Island changes as early as the 1890's

William T. Davis, the founder of the Staten Island Museum and the author of Days Afield on Staten Island, a catalog of Staten Island's vast array of plant and animal species, wrote in 1890 "Houses appear where it used to be uninhabited--I see clothes drying on the line where once I saw wild ducks, so I have to abandon a little of my rambling ground every year." (Preface). Changes to the landscape on Staten Island came with the onset of transportation made available by the ferry, railroad and the opening of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in 1964.

                                                                                                                                                          Click  image for book's location in the library


Two Staten Islands: Before and After the opening of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge

Staten Island before the opening of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.  View from Todt Hill, Staten Island 1890.


Staten Island after the opening of the bridge. View from Todt Hill 2011.