Sylvan Cemetery, Ridgway Cemetery
Established 1690, Glen Street and Victory Blvd, Travis
Established circa, 1760 Victory Blvd and Glen Street inside Sylvan Cemetery, Travis
Similar to Hillside Cemetery in its sloping, roadside location, Sylvan Cemetery is believed to have been a Native American burial ground. The site is significant as one of the oldest extant cemeteries on Staten Island, established by European settlers in the 17th century as the Cannon Family Burial Hill. It was the final resting place of some of Staten Island’s most prominent families, and it is also rumored that British soldiers from the Revolutionary War were buried here. In 1781, the cemetery was opened to the public. A century later, in the 1880s, the site was in severe decline, and by the 1930s, it had been entirely abandoned. A survey done in 1923 found 235 gravestones or markers representing just over 250 individuals still visible on the landscape. DCAS took the site in the 1950s and it has been owned by the Parks Department since 2003.
The Ridgway family, one of the oldest on Staten Island, had a large farm in Travis that included a family burial ground. One of the last descendants of the family was Matthew Bunker Ridgway (1895-1993), a United States Army General during World War II and the Korean War (during which he resurrected the United Nations war effort), and a decorated hero who was recognized with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1986. In the 1980s, a developer illegally built a large structure on the site of Ridgway Cemetery. FACSI notified the General, but by the time he was engaged in the issue, the burial ground had already been obliterated. In 2013, FACSI moved the remaining gravestones to nearby Sylvan Cemetery, where a plaque and enclosure commemorates them.