Back in 1818, a 12.5 cent ride on the Staten Island ferry would take you from the bustling, foul-smelling Manhattan port to a quiet landscape soon to be dotted with mansions and retreat houses for the very rich.
St. George, a neighborhood known as New Brighton in the 1830s and as Camp Washington during the Civil War, had been a key look-out spot during the American Revolution and would dwindle, grow, and transform to become the eclectic community that residents today call Staten Island's "downtown."
In a new book, that story is depicted in photographs that will captivate lovers of history, architecture and the neighborhood at large.
"St. George," part of Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series, tells the story of the neighborhood, from the burning of the quarantine hospital to the construction of the Richmond County Bank Ballpark.
Local authors David Goldfarb and James G. Ferreri show us centuries-old photographs of sweeping views from the Kill van Kull; the grand old Hotel Castleton; Curtis High School, and horse-drawn carriages on Richmond Terrace. One early photograph shows Spanish-American War veterans parading down Central Avenue.
The book is more about places than people, but it does tell the de rigeur story of Erastus Wiman, who agreed to "canonize" George Law in order to broker the real estate deal that gave St. George its name.
The authors also trace the history of St. George as a transportation hub, with lovely photographs of its old train yards and a chapter on the development of the Staten Island Ferry.
Goldfarb, former head of the St. George Civic Association, is the managing partner of the Manhattan law firm Golfarb Abrandt Salzman & Kutzin, concentrating on health law, elder law trusts and estates, and the rights of the elderly and disabled. A local preservationist, Goldfarb was formerly president of the Historic Districts Council and is now chair of Preserve & Protect, Inc., and on the board of the Preservation League of Staten Island.
Ferreri, an award-winning interior designer, is the author of the Advance columns, "Present, Past and Future," and "Designers at Home." Ferreri is the president of the Preservation League of Staten Island and a member of the board of trustees of the Historic Districts Council in Manhattan.
Book signings will be held April 17 at 5 at SHOW Gallery, 156 Stuyvesant Pl.; April 25 at 2 p.m. at the St. George Library, 5 Central Ave., and on May 7 at a time to be announced in the Staten Island Museum, 75 Stuyvesant Pl., all in St. George.
The book ($21.99) will be available Monday from Arcadia Publishing (www.arcadiapublishing.com) and at local bookstores.