A Brief History
Nestled in the marshes of Staten Island’s Western Shore is a small town, a hamlet, called Travis. Originally known as Travisville, the town was named for Colonel Jacob Travis who resided here before the Civil War. The town went through several name changes throughout the years before officially becoming Travis again sometime between 1920 and 1930
It seems only natural that this community overflows with so much patriotism when one looks at the history of Travis
During the American Revolution, 9000 English troop0s landed on Staten Island. Islanders, being content with their lives under British rule, supported the Loyalists’ cause. One contingent of Loyalist troops was camped in Travis, which was then know as New Blazing Star. It was here on August 22, 1777, that a major skirmish on Staten Island between General George Washington’s Patriots and General William Howe’s Loyalists was fought.
In the year 1819, the site of this battle of the Revolutionary War, at the terminus of the Richmond Turnpike ( later given the commemorative name of Victory Boulevard) became the New Blazing Star Ferry. During that time, the town became one of the most important points of travel in the country. Stagecoaches and mail-wagons traveled through the village of New Blazing to the ferry. The ferry crossed the Arthur Kill and landed in Carteret, New Jersey where the coaches then continued on thei,r route to Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
In 1873, the town became the home of the American Linoleum Manufacturing Company – the first factory of its kind in the United States. In 1882, the company became one of the first users of Electricity when it installed electric lights to facilitate work at night. By 1900, the plant employed 700 workers and 3,000 people called Linoleumville their home.
The community of Travis refuses to let its history die. It is seen at its best each year on the Fourth of July when it hosts one of the oldest consecutive Independence Day celebrations in the United States. The spirit of the community of Travis defined by the three “P’s”: PRIDE, PATRIOTISM, and PERSEVERANCE!
Since its beginning in 1911, The Travis Fourth of July Parade has seen only minor change. The 1912 baseball games between the “bloomer-girls” and the “bloomer-boys” are gone, but then again, so is Arco Park – the field where those games were played. The spirit lives on! The giant red, white and blue decorations still adorn the streets and the character that distinguishes Travis as a unique town, are still visible.
The Travis community is a survivor of a long gone era. Despite the physical intrusions of modern times into its life, Travis still boasts the qualities of the American Pioneer. It is in those qualities that one finds the charm of Travis.
Within the City, there is an Island. Upon that Island there is a town. A town called Travis, “New York City’s last frontier”.
All photographs are courtesy of Flint Genarri
An Staten Island Icon in Graffiti & Photography Flint Genarri