Arrochar, Staten Island (History)

Arrochar is a neighborhood in northeastern Staten Island in New York City in the United States. It is located directly inland of Fort Wadsworthand South Beach, on the east side of Hylan Boulevard south of the Staten Island Expressway; the community of Grasmere borders it on the west. It is today primarily a neighborhood of one- and two-family homes and small businesses.

 

HISTORY

Prior to the arrival of Europeans in the late 17th century to Staten Island, the area was the site of a Lenape encampment. The name “Arrochar” comes from the estate of William Wallace MacFarland in the 1840s, who named it for his hometown of Arrochar in Scotland, the seat of the ancient chiefs of the Clan MacFarlane.

At the beginning of the 20th century the neighborhood became a fashionable gateway to the resort communities of South Beach and Midland Beach. The house of the MacFarland estate is now part of the grounds of St. Joseph Hill Academy, a Catholic girls school. Across Landis Avenue from St. Joseph Hill Academy sits St. John Villa Academy, also a Roman Catholic girls school. Throughout the 20th century it became a residential neighborhood for various ethnic groups, Italian-Americans being chief among them. Arrochar today is still inhabited by many Italians and has a growing Chinese-American community as well.