Tottenville Dissoway-Cole House Considered for Landmark Designation

The names Cole and Dissoway are very familiar to those who are into the history and genealogy of Staten Island. Now, the New York City Historic Districts Council is advocating landmark designation for the 19th century home of Captain Abram and Ruth Dissoway Cole.  The Greek Revival style home is a rare surving example of this architecture that was once common on the island. It was continuously owned by members of the Cole family up until the 1970’s, and is located in Tottenville.


The present owners adamantly oppose landmarking, claiming it amounted to condemnation by eminent domain without compensation. The owner’s attorney testified that the building’s original fabric had been extensively damaged in a 1999 fire, and a representative of Council Member Vincent Ignizio testified that while many buildings in southern Staten Island deserve designation “this is not one of them.” The owner intends to sell the property to a developer aspiring to build a mall at the site, lending urgency to preservationists’ calls for landmarking, according to New York City Land Use News.

Landmarks has not yet set a date to vote on designations.

3 thoughts on “Tottenville Dissoway-Cole House Considered for Landmark Designation

  1. My great-grandfather Henry Meyer bought a series of farms in New Springville in 1903. One of them had a “Dissoway Cottage” on it (See Staten Island and its People).

    I’m quite sure I lived in what was the Dissoway Cottage from 1942-1949. The cottage was destoyed when a developer built condominiums in the early 1970s.

    Is there any documentation that the Dissoways settled on Rockland Avenue before they moved to 4927 Arthur Kill Road. They may also have owned a large white farmhouse with pillars which still stood at 917 Rockland Avenue two years ago. (My great grandparents owned that house also.)

    Since I’m writing a history of the property from 1903 until the Depression, I’m very excited about any findings on the Dissoways.

    I could send you pictures of the above if you’s like.


    Emilie C. Harting
    Philadelphia, PA

  2. Your book sounds very interesting! There is so much history on Staten Island, I think you have picked a great topic. I would certainly love to see the pictures of the cottage.

    Was your grandfather Meyer nick-named “Puck”? I had read about him somewhere, I think.

    I come across so many of the old names on Staten Island in my research, and Dissoway is certainly one of them. I am not related to their family, but I do feel like I know some of these folks.

    I checked the census records quickly and I do find Dissoways living on Rockland Ave in the 1900 federal census!. They are: Louisa M Dissoway born Oct 1860 and her sister Mary E. Dissoway, born Mar 1862. The house number is not written down. I have attached a copy of the census for you.

    If you have any names of family members, or dates or other clues that I could use to find more, let me know and I will see what else I can turn up.

    Please stay in touch about your book!

    • I just saw your post last night. The Henry “Puck” Meyer you refer to died in 1891, so it can’t be the original posters great-grandfather. HOWEVER, I do believe “Puck” is MY great-grandfather, based on what I’ve read about the scattering of his ashes from the Statue of Liberty.

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