Built in 1903-04, the Tottenville Branch of the New York Public Library is the oldest public library building on Staten Island and one of the oldest in the city. Its construction was the result of industrialist Andrew Carnegie’s unprecedented philanthropic campaign to extend and consolidate the library branch system in New York City, and eventually to erect library buildings throughout the English-speaking world; the Tottenville application was the first to be submitted when Carnegie’s program was announced in 1901.
The library building was designed by the notable architectural firm of Carrere & Hastings, which not only designed the Main Building of the New York Public Library and many branch buildings, including all the Carnegie libraries erected on Staten Island, but several other significant structures in that borough. As a public building and village symbol, the Tottenville Library is appropriately inspired by classical architecture, as exhibited in its entrance portico, thermal windows, and symmetrical layout, yet simultaneously the building has a subtle rustic quality, in keeping with the villagelike character of Tottenville and the landscaped site.
STATUS Designated Individual Landmark
“I don’t know what the City would be without HDC. [They] testified before LPC time after time and helped us focus on the right issues. We would not be an historic district without HDC! ”
Doreen Gallo: DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance
“Use HDC as a resource because they know what they are doing and can offer advice on how to go about creating a district from every front: architectural, political, LPC, and the media. I had floundered prior to my involvement with this invaluable organization.”
Fern Luskin: Lamartine Place Historic District; Friends of Lamartine Place & Gibbons Underground Railroad Site
“HDC provided guidance and shared information during that process—we knew which Council members were going one way or another and we changed a few minds. I don’t think NoHo would have had as cohesive a district had it not been for HDC’s aid.”
Zella Jones: NoHo Historic District; NoHo East; and NoHo Extension
“I remember Richard saying at a meeting, we have someone here from HDC, Nadezhda Williams, Director of Preservation and Research, to help us. She said to us, ‘You are not the only ones going through this.’ HDC included us in an enormous community”
Erika Petersen: West End Preservation Society