Westerleigh, Staten Island (History)

Westerleigh is a neighborhood on Staten Island, New York in New York City.

 

HISTORY

Westerleigh first attracted notice when a temperance group, the National Prohibition Campground Association, bought 25 acres (10 ha) of land there in 1877, and named the property Prohibition Park — noted chiefly today for the fact that the official climate records for Staten Island are compiled at the site. Many of the local streets are named after early leaders of the Prohibition movement (Neal Dow, Clinton B. Fisk), or for states that supported anti-liquor laws (such as Maine andOhio).

Some of Westerleigh’s earliest residents excelled in letters, including Isaac K. Funk, co-founder of Funk and Wagnalls, and poet Edwin Markham. Heiress Amy Vanderbilt also once lived there, as does minor b-movie actor Brian “the Duke” Crimmins. The neighborhood gained much local attention for the abundance of patriotic decorations festooned on its homes in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

One of the oldest Boy Scout groups, Troop #2, was formed in Westerleigh, and still operates out of the Immanuel Union Church on Jewett Avenue. Westerleigh is also home to the oldest tennis club in the US, tennis having been introduced to the US (from England, via Bermuda) at the home here of Mary Ewing Outerbridge. She played the first game in the US at the Staten Island Cricket Club on an hourglass shaped court. The location, on College Avenue, still sports a tennis court.

Westerleigh Park acts as the unofficial heart of the North Shore neighborhood.