I found these photos of St. John Villa Academy in the New York Public Library’s Digital Collections: Staten Island in Vintage Postcards. The collection consists of 768 postcards that show places and life in Staten Island from the late 19th-century into the 20th-century. Catherine Robinson, who spent her childhood in Staten Island, collected and organized the postcards as a hobby and gave them to the NYPL in 2001. No date is given for these photos. The school opened 85 years ago. If you happen to know anything about these postcards, feel free to leave a comment.

To see what it looks like today, take a look at these photos I took in January 2010. The place hasn’t changed much. The trees are taller, of course, and a few buildings have been added. The Verrazano Narrows Bridge, which  recently celebrated its 45th anniversary–and remains a symbol of my longing to go home during my days there–hadn’t been built yet. The school grounds skirt the edge of the tollbooths of the bridge, its span looming in the background. The whooshing sounds of bridge traffic fills the campus.

St. John’s Villa Academy, Clev... Digital ID: 104981. New York Public Library

St. John Villa Academy, Cleveland Place, Staten Island: stone wall and drive up to main buildings

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The Sanctuary, St. John’s Vill... Digital ID: 104977. New York Public Library

The Sanctuary, St. John Villa Academy

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St. John’s Villa Academy  [bui... Digital ID: 104979. New York Public Library

Buildings and entrance court

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St. John’s Villa Academy  [app... Digital ID: 104980. New York Public Library

Appears to be door to chapel

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Chapel, St. John’s Villa Acade... Digital ID: 104971. New York Public Library

Chapel

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 St. John’s Villa Academy, Arr... Digital ID: 104976. New York Public Library

St. John’s Villa Academy

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St. John’s Villa Academy [view... Digital ID: 104978. New York Public Library

View of statue in entrance court and garden

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St. John’s Villa Academy [camp... Digital ID: 104982. New York Public Library

Campus in winter, snow on ground

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St. John’s Villa Academy,  Arr... Digital ID: 104974. New York Public Library

Drive to main entrance

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St. John’s Villa Academy, Arro... Digital ID: 104972. New York Public Library

Iron entrance gate, snow-covered landscape and buildings

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St. John’s Villa Academy, Stat... Digital ID: 104975. New York Public Library

Drive to main entrance with center court and statue

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