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Special Collections: Finding Aides

Staten Island Rapid Transit Photographs

Finding Aid

Arranged and described by:
Ellen H. Belcher
January 1998

Dates: 1935-1941

The Staten Island Rapid Transit Company owned and operated a commuter railroad in Staten Island. This collection of photographs documents a project to eliminate grade crossings and refurbish stations dating from1935 to 1941. Starting in 1860, the company operated several lines to the ferry terminal in Richmond. The first line ran to Tottenville via New Dorp. In the 1880s and 1890s, other lines were added. In 1968 the SIRT was annexed to the Metropolitan Transit Authority of New York.

An ongoing project to eliminate grade crossings began in the 1930s and continued into the 1940s, this project also included renovation of stations effected by the elevation or recession of the tracks. Grade crossings were removed and improvements made in the 1930s, some of which are documented in this collection. Elimination of several grade crossings was accomplished by building trestles and viaducts, which raised the tracks above the crossing roads. This collection documents portions of this project which occurred between 1935-1941.

This collection consists of photographs which document the work of the Staten Island Rapid Transit Company, Engineering Departments' elimination of grade crossings from 1935 to 1941. All phases of the individual projects are documented from start to finish. Included are many shots showing adjacent buildings and properties as well as men at work Because of gaps in numerical sequences and because only a few stations are recorded, it is possible that this collection might not be a complete documentation of this project.

The stations photographed are: Fort Wadsworth (boxes 1-4); New Brighton (box 5); Mariners Harbor and Port Richmond (Boxes 6-16); Stapleton (Boxes17-19); Rosebank (Box 20); Great Kills (Box 21-24); and Tottenville (Box 25-27). The largest portion of the collection pertains to renovations of the tracks between Port Richmond and Mariner's Harbor from 1935-37. Included in this series are photographs of the Tower Hill station as well. Not included in this collection is documentation of later grade crossing removal projects such as those between Grant City and Oakwood Heights in the mid 1940s.

The only written documentation accompanying this collection is on the captions typed on the verso of most of the photographs. Most captions include the following information:
    Project number ( or case number)
    Project name (usually station name or names of a series of stations)
    Direction of line of site
    Object (exact subject of photograph ie: street name, house owner),
The date and number of the photograph appear on the front of the photograph.

The photographs were found arranged numerically with project numbers interspersed. It was determined that this likely was not the logical original order of the collection but probably reflects a later reorganization of the photographs. During the processing of the collection, the photographs were arranged by project number and photograph number within that series. The project number series are arranged numerically which also reflects a general progression by date.

Provenance: Donated by Saul I. Heller, in 1974.

Related Collections:
Transit Museum Archives: 2 boxes of miscellaneous materials, 1 historical pamphlet.
Staten Island Historical Society: various materials.

References: Available at LIU Library:
Fichler, S. Uptown, Downtown. NY: Hawthorn Books, 1976: pp. 167-8.
"Staten Island Opens Mile-Long Viaduct; Thirty-four Grade Crossings are Eliminated."
    The New York Times. February 26, 1937: p. 3.
"Crossing Job Begun on Staten Island: Exercises Held to Mark Start of $2,000,000 Project."
    The New York Times. July 14, 1938: p7.

    PROJECT #2795A

    Fort Wadsworth
BOX 1: 5(7-16-37) -8(7-16-37)

    PROJECT #2795
    Fort Wadsworth
BOX 2: 400(5-9-35) - 427(8-7-36)

BOX 3: 500(12-5-35) - 599(1-4-36)

BOX 4: 600(1-4-36) - 726(10-22-36)

    PROJECT #2866A
    New Brighton, Jersey Street
BOX 5: 101(11-13-36) -118(1-23-37)

    PROJECT #2866
    Mariner's Harbor Port Richmond
BOX 6: 170(7-21-37) - 247(7-21-37)

BOX 7: 451(10-28-36) - 549(9-27-35)

BOX 8: 550(9-27-35) - 599(11-18-35)

BOX 9: 600(11-25-35) - 649(4-8-36)

BOX 10: 650(2-1-36) - 699(6-12-36)

BOX 11: 700(3-28-36) - 748 (7-2-36)

BOX 12: 750 (7-2-36) - 799 (8-24-36)

BOX 13: 800(10-14-36)-849(10-28-36)

BOX 14: 850(10-28-36) - 898(1-16-37)

BOX 15: 901(2-28-37) - 999(7-20-37)

BOX 16: 1000(7-20-37) - 1036(9-29-37)

    PROJECT #3149
BOX 17: 402(2-12-36) -592(3-13-36)

BOX 18: 601(4-14-36) - 699(8-19-36)

BOX 19: 700(8-19-36) - 763(12-13-36)

    PROJECT #3317
    Rosebank - Saint Mary's Avenue
BOX 20: 18(3-25-37) - 24(3-25-37)
               347(11-20-37) - 283(2-9-39)
               506(7-16-37) - 543(11-20-37)

    PROJECT #3233
    Great Kills - Huguenot
BOX 21: 246(10-3-38) - 386(2-24-38) [with gaps]

BOX 22: 501(10-26-38) - 698(10-22-39)

BOX 23: 700(10-22-39) - 849(4-28-40)

BOX 24: 850(4-28-40) - 1048(6-13-41)

    PROJECT # 3335
BOX 25: 1(7-7-38) - 28(9-17-38)

BOX 26: 501(8-10-39) - 617(3-25-40)

BOX 27: 1001(11-14-39) - 1033(5-15-40)

BOX 28: Unidentified photos

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Created By: Ellen Belcher
Revised: 3/14/2000



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