One of the most charming communities in Staten Island is Westerleigh, bordered by Manor Road to the east; New York State Route 440 to the west, Victory Boulevard to the south, and Forest Avenue to the north.
Westerleigh is a popular real estate destination, especially for people seeking pretty single-family homes, with convenient transit to New York City. But Westerleigh dates back to a bucolic time that focused on agriculture – and Prohibition. Here are some interesting facts:
Westerleigh gets its name from the Westerleigh Collegiate Institute of Staten Island, which once taught children from kindergarten through college.
Westerleigh was once known as Prohibition Park. The community was founded in 1887 by the National Prohibition Campground Association, with playing fields, a stable, a platform for lectures, and a bowling alley. Its focal point was a 15-acre green park that featured a picnic grove and a bandstand for concerts and plays.
Many streets in Westerleigh were named for presidential and vice president candidates for the Prohibition Party (including Clinton B. Fisk) or “dry” states such as Virginia, Maine and Ohio.
Isaac K. Funk, co-founder of Funk and Wagnalls, lived in Westerleigh.
Boy Scout Troop #2, based at the Immanuel Union Church on Jewett Avenue, is one of the oldest troops in the country. It was founded in 1912.
One of the oldest tennis clubs in the United States was founded in Westerleigh. Mary Ewing Outerbridge played the first game in the country at the Staten Island Cricket Club.
One of the oldest homes in Westerleigh is a small Dutch farmhouse built in the mid-1700s for Peter Houseman, a wealthy millwright. After his death, farmland surrounding the home was sold into small lots for summer homes that became part of Prohibition Park.
Prohibition Park once had brick streets lined with ornate Victorian-style, one-family homes.
In stark contrast, the Society of St. Paul Seminary on Victory Boulevard is a tall structure built in the late 1960s. The building’s eclectic design, with slanting windows and roofline, makes it a visual landmark.
By Greg Nixon, Nixon/McGowan Team, Casandra Properties Inc.
Greg Nixon is a licensed New York State real estate salesperson who is part of the Nixon/McGowan Team for Casandra Properties Inc. For more information, reach Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org call 718-816-7799.