Michael Vigorito, Ph.D.

Michael Vigorito, Ph.D.


Reconstructing the History of the Watering Place

2016 Seed Grant

This project will reconstruct the history of a location on Staten Island once known as the Watering Place (in present day Tompkinsville/St. George area). There were many historical events that took place here, but the most notable is the Quarantine and Marine Hospital which operated for 6 decades. In 1858 the nearby residents’ fear of disease, as well as economic, political and social factors, caused the community to destroy all of the buildings on the quarantine grounds. The Quarantine at Tompkinsville was the original “Ellis Island”, but actually much more took place here. Specifically, the new “National Lighthouse Museum”, which is located on a portion of the former quarantine grounds, is the focus of this project in order to tell the full story.

There are some connections to the Seton Hall story too. When the Quarantine Grounds opened in 1799 the first health officer was Dr. Richard Bayley. He was a well-respected physician who played a significant role in the early approaches to quarantine and in understanding infectious disease. He was also the father of Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton and the grandfather of Bishop James Bayley. Well before the Quarantine, this location (the Watering Place) was inhabited by the Lenape Indians. A lot is known about these Indians from the work of the late Seton Hall professor Herbert Kraft. The Watering Place was also a British camp during the French and Indian war and during the Revolutionary war.

VisualEyes 5 will be used to create interactive presentations, and a WordPress blog will house all of the related documents, images and presentations.

Vigorito, Michael, “Reconstructing the History of the Watering Place” (2016). Digital Humanities. 11.