Sep 20, 2010

Erastus Wiman

From Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

A socialite who loved fast horses, Wiman lived with his close-knit family in a grand house on Staten Island. The business enterprise dearest to his heart was the development of the island as New York’s transport hub, in competition with Manhattan. By the mid 1880s he had wrested control of the ferry service to the island from the Vanderbilt interests, acquired ten miles of shoreline for the development of a harbour, built a railway round the island, and opened an amusement park. In partnership with Robert Garrett, president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, he constructed a railway bridge to New Jersey, thus providing direct access to trunk lines.  Read more...

So who was this guy?  

He is a major reason we have the ferry service we have today. And he is a part of the sports history in St. George.

St. George is thought, by many, to be named after Saint Geroge (FYI who is also the patron saint of Boy Scouts), but is named after George Law.  Law owned the waterfront property now know as St. George and was convinced to sell it to Erastus Wiman in exchange the promise of being canonized a Saint, hence the name St. George.

Wiman also ran the Staten Island Amusement Company and controlled the St. George Cricket Grounds.
St. George Cricket Grounds or "St. George Grounds" is a former baseball ground located on Staten Island, New York, USA. St. George was the home park for the New York Metropolitans of the American Association for the 1886 and 1887 seasons. The grounds were also a part time home to the New York Giants of the National League from April 29 to June 14 in 1889.
The stadium, which was built along the lines of a typical horse race track grandstand, was constructed as part of the development of the then-new community of St. George, Staten Island in 1886, by Erastus Wiman. Although the community and the ferry were very successful, Major League baseball was not. The Giants were a strong team through the latter part of the 1880s, and the "original Mets" folded after the 1887 season. The Giants played some games there in 1889 while awaiting construction of the Polo Grounds; their move to the Polo Grounds ended big league ball in St. George.

This area was not successful for these teams, but in 2001, the Staten Island Yankees arrived. They are in their 9th year, winning several championships and attracting a huge fan base to see the future Bronx Bombers.

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