Olmsted, Public Health, and Urban Planning

September 22, 2021

Join Turnstile Tours and the Friends of Olmsted-Beil House for a virtual panel discussion to mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Frederick Law Olmsted’s report for the Staten Island Improvement Commission, a comprehensive plan for the island’s growth and development. We will hear unique perspectives about Staten Island in the late 1800s, Olmsted’s public health recommendations, and his legacy in the greenest borough of New York City. The panel will include Prof. Catherine Seavitt Nordenson, Director of Graduate Landscape Architecture Program at City College’s Spitzer School of Architecture; Jessica Kratz of the Greenbelt Nature Center; naturalist Ed Johnson, emeritus curator of science at the Staten Island Museum; and moderated by Andrew Gustafson of Turnstile Tours.

Exploring Staten Island’s Olmsted-Beil House

June 10, 2021

A one-hour live virtual tour by Turnstile Tours of Olmsted-Beil House Park. Presentations were also given by Olmsted biographer, New Yorker, and FOBH supporter Justin Martin and FOBH Board members and historians Patricia Salmon and Tina Kaasmann-Dunn.

Tina Kaasmann (August 27, 2020; interview): Ms. Kaasmann discusses her family and growing up in the house next to the Olmsted-Beil House. Learn how these factors resulted in Ms. Kaasmann’s love of all things from Staten Island’s past.

Please note that due to a technical issue there may only be audio for the first 1:12 minutes of the production. Video connects with audio at 1:13.

FOBH is excited to present a video interview of historian Tina Kaasmann, recorded on August 27, 2020 with Eileen Monreale, Jack Bolembach, Paula Tramontano, and Patricia Salmon. Watch Tina describe her life growing up in Staten Island and how her passion for Staten Island history began! Please note that due to a technical issue there may only be audio for the first 1:12 minutes of the production. Video connects with audio at 1:13.

Posted by Paula Tramontano on Friday, August 28, 2020

Eloise Beil, Felicity Beil, and Carlotta DeFillo: On Growing Up in the Historic Olmsted-Beil House (June 29, 2020; interview): The daughters of Carlton and Louise Beil discuss growing up in the Olmsted-Beil House, their parents, and how living in this historical home influenced their lives and careers. At one time or another, all three have worked at various museums, historic sites, or living history villages.

History of Farming at the Olmsted-Beil House (June 18, 2020; presenter: historian and Friends Board member Patricia Salmon): Patricia shares the history of farming at the Olmsted-Beil House historic site, beginning with first owner Reverend Tesschenmaker in the 1680s and proceeding through the centuries to Dr. Samuel Akerly, Frederick Law Olmsted,  and others. 

Erastus Wiman (May 28, 2020; presenter: historian and Friends Board member Patricia Salmon): Patricia introduces us to businessman Erastus Wiman, who once owned the Woods of Arden Inn (now the Olmsted-Beil House); his ownership began in 1885. The inn was part of a grand, many-faceted scheme to bring visitors to Staten Island. The video gives us a glimpse into Mr. Wiman’s grand plans and the economic development of Staten Island at this time. 

Carlton and Louise Beil (May 15, 2020; presenter: historian and Friends Board member Patricia Salmon): Patricia details the Beils’ purchase of the Olmsted-Beil House and looks at Mr. Beil’s natural history career, both on Staten Island and with the American Museum of Natural History. The video was recorded on site at Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve, where Mr. Beil was a naturalist guide for many years.

Dr. Samuel Akerly and the Growth of Natural History on Staten Island (April 25, 2020; presenter: naturalist and Friends Board member Ed Johnson): Ed discusses Dr. Akerly, an early 19th-century resident of the Olmsted-Beil House who undertook a thorough documentation of agriculture and nature on Staten Island. This manuscript aided and influenced future Island naturalists, including William T. Davis and Carlton Beil, who are also featured in the program.

The Olmsted-Beil House (April 18, 2020; presenter: Protector of Pine Oak Woods president Cliff Hagen): Cliff interviews Tina Kaasmann-Dunn for an introductory tour of the Olmsted-Beil House.

Frederick Law Olmsted’s Abandoned Staten Island Home That Inspired Central Park (Sept. 3, 2019; untapped cities):