Image from Rossville
Image courtesy of Peter Greenberg. Used by permission under CC BY-SA 3.0. License Info Photo has been cropped.
Image from Rossville
Image courtesy of Peter Greenberg. Used by permission under CC BY-SA 3.0. License Info Photo has been cropped.

Living In: Rossville


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Located in the South Shore section of Staten Island, is the neighborhood of Rossville. The area was originally inhabited by the Raritan Indians, and was basically free of European settlers until the British surveyed the area in 1684. However, it wasn't until the early 1700's that a permanent European settlement was established in the area. The area was originally known as Old Blazing Star, and later just Blazing Star, in the mid-1800's, after a well-known tavern in the area. The Blazing Star Ferry ran for a number of years in the area, and to this day you can find the Blazing Star Burial Ground, which is abandoned and dates back to the mid 1750s. The area was renamed Rossville around the 1830's, after a Colonel Ross, who built a replica of Windsor Castle on a bluff overlooking the ferry landing. Originally called Ross Castle, it was later referred to as Lyon Castle. For a long time, Rossville was a successful farming community with a village. However, poor transportation options (including being bypassed by the Staten Island Railway) eventually led to the decline of the area. In 1976, however, the West Shore Expressway opened, which led to rapid development. As often happens in situation like this, long suffering farmers sold their land to developers, who built houses on the land. Rossville is home to a community called Sandy Ground, which is one of the oldest communities still in existence that was founded by African Americans before the start of the Civil War. Soon after New York State abolished slavery in 1827, freedman established the community. Several of the original structures are still in existence, although many of the homes were destroyed in brush fires in 1963. Five of the remaining buildings have been declared New York City landmarks. Sandy Ground was also a stop on the underground railroad. Today, the Sandy Ground Historical Society maintains a museum and library, as well as the grounds of the original settlement.

Neighborhood Information

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Schools

  • Is 75 Paulo Is
  • Ps 56 Louis De Sario School

Parks

  • South Shore Country Club

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