Spanish Camp was started in 1923 by emigrants from Spain, most of whom were anarchists, under the name Spanish Naturopath Association. The 18-acre (73,000 m2) property, located on New York Harbor and off Poillon Avenue on the southeastern shore of Staten Island, had its own streets and services, quite independent of anything having to do with the rest of Staten Island and New York City. A small pond and associated wetlands were included. A small beach faced New York Harbor, adjacent to an ornate picnic area and athletic field. Roman Catholic activist Dorothy Day lived for years in one of the cottages. In 2000 the grandchildren and great grandchildren of the founders, against the will of most residents, sold the property for $7.1 million to a developer, John DiScala. Residents owned their homes, but the land was the property of the Naturopath Association, whose members were descendents of the founders. Residents were forced out, but the developer was blocked by various court actions brought by former residents and by refusal of the City Planning Department to issue permits for construction. The developer had promised to preserve the home Dorothy Day lived in, and a few sample other areas. However, her former home was leveled by abulldozer as the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission was about to declare it a historic landmark, and the developer then claimed there was no evidence she had ever been near the property.
As of 2006 DiScala’s firm has declared bankruptcy, and he is trying to sell the otherwise vacant land to other developers.