The neighborhood was originally known by two separate names, the western half being called Hillside Park and the eastern half Linden Park. Both were later renamed for Thomas Dongan, the Irish-born governor of the Province of New York after the Kingdom of England acquired it from the Netherlands in 1682. The “hills” alluded to in the name are actually the eastern ridge of Todt Hill, and much of what is colloquially referred to as “Todt Hill” by most island residents is actually reckoned as belonging to Dongan Hills by more authoritative sources such as the Staten Island Advance. However, there is a section of Dongan Hills that actually contains large hills. This portion of the neighborhood is called, the Dongan Hills Colony. “The Colony” is located above Richmond Road and borders the neighborhood of Todt Hill.
The neighborhood is also home to FDNY Engine Company 159, and quartered with it, Satellite 5.
Dongan Hills was one of the first Staten Island neighborhoods to witness an upsurge in home construction after World War II, as many small, one-family homes were built there during the 1950s, and the city also built a public housing project in the community; known as the General Berry Houses, it is the southernmost public housing project on Staten Island. Population growth accelerated in the area when the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge linking Staten Island with Brooklyn was opened in November 1964. Indeed, recent arrivals from Brooklyn have overwhelmed the descendants of the original residents, and now form a majority of the neighborhood’s population.
Most of the residents are Italian American, with a substantial amount also being of Hispanic, Irish, and African American descent.