Island Archives: Looking over the Island, again.

Are you just joining us on our aerial tour of Governors Island in 1938? Here we are given a view of the Parade Grounds and the back of Colonels Row from the top of St. Cornelius Chapel, built in 1905. Note that the quadrangle in Ft. Jay was painted white (or pale yellow) like most of the oldest brick buildings on Governors Island.  The 16th infantry is in review on the Parade Grounds, watched by a small crowd of onlookers and, tennis courts are in the foreground. Nice island!


panorama two 1938-2

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4 Responses

  1. President Eisenhower played golf on that parade ground after church services at St. Cornelius…in the 50’s there was a grand piano in that basement and the choirs practiced among the huge stones that made up the foundations of the church.

  2. Please try to remember that the Island belonged to the U.S. Army and then the U.S. Coast guard for many. many years. Their are CG brat reunions every year or two and we would really appreciate it if you would leave the buildings that are not deteriorating, alone! Our footprints are still there. We love our Island more than words can say,and every time you tear down one of our many hang-outs,such as the bowling alley, movie theater,etc. You rip out a piece of our heart and soul! I’ve had many comment that it is getting too discouraging and depressing to view all the destruction now. We’re not sure we want to visit again!! So just remember,any Park can have tree’s and merry-go-rounds. But our Governor’s Island has History and dreams that we,as brats will never forget!

  3. You might mention that if you double click on the picture you can enlarge it for a better view. Also you can drag the enlargementt around with the mouse.

  4. This photo was taken in 1938, the same year I graduated from the Post School, 8th grade. My brother Tom graduated in January of that year, but there were only two in his class, so they came back to join our graduation ceremony in June. Most of the kids went on to Curtis High School on Staten Island, taking two ferries each way.

    The military formation was probably for retreat, which was the close of the working day. This photo shows the Retreat on the golf course, the large expanse being fairway for the first and ninth of the nine hole course. Officers only were permitted to play the course, and caddies were given privileges after 5PM. To the far right was the quadrangle, the highest land on the island, elevated for military purposes of defense. It also made for the best sledding on the Island, ending at the Brick Row.

    The first house on the Brick Row was assigned to the Commanding Officer, who at 1938 was Col. Crystal. When I returned from the war in Europe in late 1945, Col. George S. Beurket was living in that house, and I married his beautiful daughter, Georgianne. The house was later used for peace talks between Gromyko and Reagan, after the Coast Guard had taken over the Island.

    Beyond the Brick Row you can see the high rising of the Big Gym, which was a huge stadium atop the sally port, which was designed for military events during inclement weather.

    St. Cornelius The Centurion was built by Trinity Church for Army religious services. Several of us boys were acolytes, when Chaplain (Col.) J.Burt Webster was ministering. Acolytes were paid $1 per service, a kings rfansom in those Depression times. When I found that choir members were getting $5 a service, I soon got myself promoted to that fine choir which drew the finest unemployed singers from the N.Y.C. area. Chaplain Webster gave us boys the basement of the church for a clubhouse, and it was there, celebrating brother Tom’s 18th birthday, that we heard on our little radio that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. The next day we all went to enlist in the Army. The 16th Infantry was the first to invade foreign land, into Africa, to mark our active entrance into WW2.
    Jerry Keough France

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