Museum logo

Photo Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Title [Hesse Oyster and Lunch Room]
Object Name Print, Photographic
Photographer Bear, George
Date March 13, 1898
Collection Staten Island Geographic Collection
Description Original B&W print on beige cardboard mount. A group of nine men, women and boys stand in front of a small one-story clapboard building; a larger brick building is at left. All wear coats and hats, and one man and one boy wear aprons. It appears to be snowing, and the ground and the buildings are covered with snow and ice. There are several signs on the small building, including "EDWARD HESSE. / OYSTER & LUNCH ROOM" on a large sign at roof height and "EDWARD HESSE" on a small sign over the door. Another sign hangs from a horizontal post: "FRESH / CLAM CHOWDER". Printed inscription in lower left corner: "BEAR". Handwritten inscription scratched into the photo along the bottom edge: "NOVEMBER". A typed paper label is glued to the lower right corner of the photo: "[He]ss[e] Lunch Room / [---] of the present LIBRARY / in Stapleton. / The year of the Great Blizzard [this sentence has been crossed out] / 1888 [this date has been crossed out and the date "1898" has been written in pencil]". Three handwritten SIHS inscriptions on reverse. In ink: "HESSE LUNCH ROOM / CANAL ST. STAPLETON / GEO. BEAR / 1898". In pencil: "Left to right: John Siemann, whose father owned the grocery adjoining. / Peter Hassel, cabinet maker, still living (1945). Adoph Fuchslacher, Edw. Hesse, / Edw. Hesse, Jr., Minnie Hesse, wearing Rough Riders Hat of Spanish Am. War, / thereby dating this group. Other three unknown. 1898 is date of picture because / John Siemann was but one year old in 1888. -- H.G. Steinmeyer / PS 14 can be seen right distance." In blue pencil: "taken by G Bear / 13 March 1888 [crossed out and 1898 written in] / Now Stapleton Library".
Print size 7 x 9
Acquisition Gift of George Bear
Ownership and History For centuries, oysters had been gathered in the waters around Staten Island. By the 1840s, oystering had become a major local trade, and it soon came to be recognized as one of the region's foremost industries. By the 1870s, Staten Island oyster planters and dealers were furnishing oysters not only to New York City but to the western United States and to other countries as well.

Photographer George Bear (1856-1945) opened his studio on Beach Street in Stapleton, Staten Island, around 1881. He had apprenticed as a photographer in Germany and immigrated to the U.S. in the 1870s. Bear's clients were drawn primarily from the German-American community of Stapleton and frequently included factory workers, laborers, and tradesmen.
Earliest Date 1898
Latest Date 1898
Subjects Oystering
Lexicon Sub-category Documentary Artifact
Associated People Bear, George
Catalog Number 39.007.0003
Support Acknowledgment Online Collections Database record made possible by the Staten Island Historical Society, December 2012.
Legal Status Items represented here are from the collections of the Staten Island Historical Society. Materials reproduced for personal non-commercial use must credit the Staten Island Historical Society. Commercial licensing is available.