The first inhabitants of Staten Island’s shoreline were the Aquehonga Indians, which are a branch of Raritans. The Aquehonga Indians were able to take advantage of the great amounts of food around the waterways of Staten Island. In 1524, Giovanni da Verrazzano first discovered Staten Island while he was looking for a path to the East Indies. Then in 1609, Henry Hudson attempted to find a route to the Orient for the third time and ended up in Staten Island, which was known as “Staaten Eylandt.”
The Dutch first settled in South Beach and the “Watering Place” in Tompkinsville, but the Dutch also explored land, which is now Stapleton. Then during the 18th century, the English took over control from the Dutch and Staten Island was used as a stronghold during the Revolutionary War. In 1783, the British troops left Staten Island.
During the 19th century, Stapleton was deemed as the most significant village along Staten Island’s eastern shore. The success of Stapleton was due mostly to the Tompkins family since the village was built on their land. William J. Staples, New York City merchant and his partner, Minthorne Tompkins purchased a large piece of land from the Vanderbilt family located on Staten Island’s east shore. In 1836, Stapleton was finally established. Both Staples and Tompkins had streets and lots established and decided to use Staples’s last name to name their land Stapleton.
The economy of Stapleton during the early 19th century was tied to its surrounding waterways. Native Americans established their homes along the waterfront mostly to obtain the food available. Transportation from site to site along the shoreline was made possible due to small boats. Since some form of transportation was available early settlement within Stapleton prospered. Stapleton’s location played an important role in its later development.
The success of Stapleton due to the establishment of roads and lots and the ferry service caused an increase in the population and a rise in businesses. Over the next 20 years, Stapleton continued to flourish especially due to its port and steam ferry service. Overall it quickly became the most important village on the east shore of Staten Island.
The population of Stapleton today is approximately 38,972. The demographics of the area include: 20,010 white population, 11,655 black population, 7,187 Hispanic population, 2,308 Asian population, 25 Hawaiian population, and 179 Indian population. There are currently about 575 businesses within Stapleton. The average house value is $195,700 and the average annual household income is about $62,779. Stapleton is in the process of being renewed due to the New Stapleton Waterfront project, this will facilitate more connections between communities and will attract more people to the area. The project includes the establishment of an open space with lawns, walking routes, and landscaped regions.
Ferreri, James G., and David Goldfarb. Stapleton. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2010.
Martin, Julia. “Changing Stapleton: The decline and the rise.” Staten Island Advance, January 23, 1972.
Middendorf, Brian. “An Icon of Prosperity Crumbles: An Economic Study of Stapleton (1940-1980).” PhD diss., College of Staten Island, 2005.
“Zip Code Profile.” Accessed May 10, 2012. http://www.neighborhoodlink.com/zip/10304.
“New Stapleton Waterfront.” Accessed May 8, 2012. http://www.nycedc.com/project/new-stapleton-waterfront.