In 1819 a group of New England industrialists and New York investors established Staten Island’s first industrial enterprise, Barrett, Tileston & Co., a textile dye house, printing works, and fabric cleaning establishment. The business was located on a sixteen-acre tract near the present-day intersection of Broadway and Richmond Terrace that incorporated several springs and a small mill pond that was enlarged to provide the pure clear water essential to the dyeing process. The dye works were housed in a “spacious and commodious building” and were said to operate on a scale “heretofore unknown in this country.”
The business was a success from the start. In 1824, the company was incorporated as the New-York Dyeing and Printing Establishment. By 1835, it had added a number of new buildings and was the largest of the seven dye works operating in New York State, employing between 150 and 200 workers.
Both the New York Dyeing & Printing Establishment and Barrett, Nephews and Company expanded greatly in the 1860s and 1870s,
“opening branch offices and agencies throughout the eastern United States, employing between four and five hundred workers, adding vast amounts of costly machinery, and consuming hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of dyestuffs, water and coal annually at each of their Staten Island plants.”
In 1895, a group of outside investors purchased and consolidated the two firms, under the name of Barrett, Nephews & Company, Old Staten Island Dyeing Establishment, at the New York Dyeing Works Broadway site. The firm continued in operation until 1932.