This park is named for nearby Carlton Avenue. This area of Staten Island was named Little Farms in the 1900s by the real estate development company of Wood Harmon. With new streets laid out from the Staten Island Railway line to Woodrow Road along Rossville Avenue, the developers hoped to lure urban transplants from the rest of the metropolitan area. Low-cost bungalows and the promise of a more peaceful existence appealed to many during this period. In a short time the company managed to transform the area from sprawling farmland and wilderness into a small residential community of houses and bungalows. Carlton Avenue was one of the Little Farms community’s main streets. Although its origin is unknown, the name has remained through many changes in the area.
The old grid of Little Farms remains in the patterns of today’s streets, but Carlton Park now overlooks the busy Korean War Veterans Parkway (formerly known as the Richmond Parkway, completed in 1972). The park’s southeastern border, once called Burchard Avenue, is now Drumgoole Road West, named in honor of John Christopher Drumgoole (1816-1888). Drumgoole was an Irish priest, child-care pioneer, and founder of St. Vincent’s Home for Homeless Newsboys at Mount Loretto.
Bounded by Vernon and Carlton Avenues, Foster Road, and Drumgoole Road West, the park stands on the site of the former P.S. 47, a short-lived building erected in 1928 and closed by September 28, 1939, when the Board of Education surrendered the property. A year later, the Board of Estimate (a now defunct municipal body) assigned the field to the Staten Island Parks Department. The land was laid with new sod and set aside as a grass playing field. Commissioner Stern renamed the site Carlton Park in 1985.
In 1993 and 1994, the City Parks Foundation provided two grants totaling $23,500 for the development of the open field into an active playground. The renovated park opened with a mini-soccer field, basketball court, and play area with modular structures, a slide, and monkey bars in July of that year. The new facilities of Carlton Park are a much-needed addition to the recreational space of Staten Island’s South Shore, heavily used by children and youth sports leagues. Open grass still covers much of the park, with scattered trees and a small woodland area for shade and quiet.