Faber’s 425 acres of blue (pool) and green (park)
A bucolic oasis exists amid Richmond Terrace’s industrialized waterfront: The Faber Park and Pool.
Although summer is over and the pool is closed, neighborhood residents use the park in the late afternoons to kick a soccer ball on the lawn, take in the views of ships passing under the Bayonne Bridge or just watch children play on the jungle gym and swings.
This anomaly is located on what was once the North Shore home of the Faber family in Port Richmond on Faber Street.
The Fabers gained fame for their lead pencil manufacturing company. Jenny Faber, who lived in Port Richmond, was granted an 1869 “letters patent” to the surrounding land under and above the Kill Van Kull on the condition that she contribute to local development by erecting a dock for “commerce or enjoyment.”
That land was purchased in 1906 by the Department of Water Supply, Gas and Electricity from Charles and Emma Griffith, who had acquired the property from Anna Faber in 1905.
Plans to build a municipal lighting plant on the site were never pursued, and the area was placed under Parks jurisdiction in 1928.
Contemporary reviews compared the design, which included 18 different hues of natural-colored stone, to the architecture of Southern California.
At the time of its completion, Faber Pool, at 140 feet by 75 feet, was the largest pool on Staten Island.
The pool opened on July 15, 1931, with a mission to offer children a safer alternative to swimming in the polluted waters of the Kill Van Kull. An expansion in 1941 doubled the park in size. In 1996, the park and pool benefited from a $1.5 million capital restoration that upgraded classrooms, offices, and locker rooms as well as filling in the diving pool and repairing the exterior grounds.
The Staten Island REACH program, which provides recreational programs for special needs youth and adults, is also located at the facility.
By Stephannia Cleaton
Staten Island Advance