Museum logo

Photo Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Title [Wygants Big Six Livery Stable]
Object Name Print, Photographic
Date ca. 1880s-1890s
Collection Staten Island Geographic Collection
Description Original B&W print mounted on off-white card with rounded corners. View of eight unidentified men with seven horses and two horse-drawn vehicles in front of a clapboard building with painted name on wall: "WYGANTS / BIG SIX / LIVERY / STABLE." At left, five of the men are each standing at a horse's head, holding the reins; a sixth man is wearing an apron. Two other men are mounted on horses. A house with a small porch is at right. Location identified as 19 Jewett Avenue, Port Richmond, Staten Island.
(Keywords: New York)
Print size 4.375 x 5.625
Acquisition Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Britten Hillyer
Ownership and History Melville E. Wygant (1846-1905), proprietor of Wygant's Big Six Livery Stable and Wygant's Big Six Cash Store, was well known in his Port Richmond, Staten Island, neighborhood. In 1901, he and a friend found themselves in legal trouble after perpetrating a hoax in which they claimed to have found a "pot of gold" buried under a historic house that was being razed.

His notoriety grew in 1905, when he and another local resident, Miss Clara Bodine, had a dispute over the ownership of a 5-acre piece of property in Port Richmond. According to articles in the New-York Tribune, Wygant responded by fencing in the property, naming it Golden City, and electing himself Mayor. The article reported that to defend the property, Wygant hired several men, "dressed them up in soldier garb, armed them with old muskets and had them hold the place for weeks. He also had large cannons erected on the property, and ordered his men to fire on the enemy." The dispute was still pending in the courts at the time of Wygant's death.
Earliest Date 1880
Latest Date 1900
Subjects Stables
Carriages & coaches
Lexicon Sub-category Documentary Artifact
Associated People Wygant, Melville E.
Catalog Number PH01.1154
Support Acknowledgment Online Collections Database record made possible by the Staten Island Historical Society, March 2016.
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.