SYLVAN, the cemetery at the end of the Island

by Kevin Walsh

If it’s possible, Sylvan Cemetery, at the end of Victory Boulevard in Staten Island in the small town of Travis, had been in even worse shape than Prospect Cemetery was in 1999, when I first photographed each.

[nggallery id=268]

In 1999 most of the headstones in Sylvan had been knocked over. As in Prospect Cemetery, overgrown weeds and thorns make it difficult to navigate.

RIGHT: Site of Helen MacGregor Joy’s grave. Helen was only two years old and lived from 1846 to 1848.

Sylvan Cemetery bears no signs to identify it as such; I know it as Sylvan Cemetery only by a small notation on my Hagstrom map of Staten Island. Most of the stones date from the mid-to-late 1800s although I did see one or two earlier ones.

[nggallery id=269]

A new sign and chain link fence have been installed, but vandals still regularly visit Sylvan.

The Decker family, widespread in Staten Island, is well-represented here.

The Prices are also well represented in Sylvan Cemetery. Price’s Lane is a Travis thoroughfare.

Sylvan Cemetery, with most of its stones tipped over, vandalized or graffitied on, is high on a hill overlooking the West Shore Expressway and beyond, the Arthur Kill and New Jersey. An organization called Friends of Abandoned Staten Island Cemeteries has made a concerted effort to clean up Sylvan Cemetery, and other such burial grounds in Staten Island in recent years.

[nggallery id=270]

The Cannon family is remembered by a WWI-era monument on Cannon Avenue where it meets Victory Boulevard.

Travis, one of Staten Island’s remotest neighborhoods, is located on Victory Boulevard near the Davis Wildlife Preserve in the Staten Island Greenbelt. It was formerly called Linoleumville, after a local industry.

Thanks to Jeannie Siegel for assistance with this page.