Serpentine Art and Nature Commons, Inc.

PO Box 040252
Staten Island, NY 10304

718-442-3105

In the 19th century the industrial village of Stapleton developed at the bottom of Grymes Hill. Several of its breweries drilled caves into the hillside to store beer. Wealthy families built fanciful Victorian mansions at the top of the hill. For the most part, the land on the hillside itself was left undisturbed - primarily because the severity of the slope discouraged builders.

In the late 1960's several speculators bought the steepest part of the hill with a plan for development but concerned neighbors successfully sued to stop them. Unfortunately the owners leased the land to a contractor who scraped off the topsoil. Before a court order stopped him, he left three acres of the hillside looking like a lunar landscape.

Ownership of 11 ½ acres of the hillside was assumed by the Trust for Public Land (TPL). They encouraged concerned neighbors to form SANC to maintain and improve the land as a nature preserve open to the community.

SANC's first tasks were to clean up our wooded lands and begin the long process of rebuilding our denuded land. We removed trash, removed almost 100 abandoned cars, and installed fencing to prevent further dumping. The lower, flat land was made into a small neighborhood park with flowers, trees, and art exhibits. Trails through the woods and to scenic overlook at the top of the hill were completed. Neighborhood youth and a part-time groundskeeper were hired to maintain the grounds. SANC offered its expertise to other groups devoted to preserving hillside land.

For more info and Land Trusts please visit FindaLandTrust.org

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