Staten Island in the 1860s

Posted by Tom Crimmins Realty, Ltd. on Sunday, January 19th, 2014 at 11:12pm.

April 1864 — Staten Island Savings Bank is founded in Stapleton

Staten Island Savings Bank was founded by Francis George Shaw and numerous other men, as a mutual savings bank in 1864. The Savings Bank opened for business three years later and became Staten Island’s first successful bank.

For over it's first 60 years, Staten Island Savings Bank remained a local bank but as business continued to expand in the twentieth century, it began to open branches in other communities on the island. The first branch was opened in St. George in 1931. Branches in New Dorp, Castleton Corners and Grasmere followed years after.

March 17, 1865 — Pioneer photographer Elizabeth Alice Austen is born in Rosebank.

Alice Austen was one of America's earliest and most noteable female photographers. Best known for documenting photographs of immigrants and Staten Island residents, "giving us a beautiful visual window on 19th century America." 

Picture Press was planning to do a book on the history of American women. C. Copes Brinley of the S.I. Historical Society contacted the publishers with the proposal of Austin's photo negatives. An agreement was signed with the Historical Society, Oliver Jensen then published many of Alice's photos in the Revolt of Women. He also placed an eight-page story in Life, and six pages of Alice's travel photos in Holiday, raising more than $4,000. Miss Austen's third of the proceeds was enough to move her into a private nursing home.

Alice Austen's home is now a museum and a part of the Historic House Trust. The house hosts school programs and exhibits.

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