Taking names: Canarsie historians in search of hall of famers

Ramon Martinez founded the Canarsie History Museum in 1999.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

A traveling museum dedicated to the history of Canarsie is asking residents to nominate local icons to memorialize in the institution’s Canarsie hall of fame.

“We are looking for people who gave themselves to this community because they care for Canarsie and the people who live here,” said Ramon Martinez, founder of the Canarsie History Museum.

The museum inducted their first class of honorees last year, commemorating 10 famed locals — including 102-year-old philanthropist Theresa Scalise, Diamond Point Hotel and Pier owner Adam Stahle, and the renowned 1800s real estate developer William Warner.

Martinez now plans to honor ten more important locals for the second hall of fame class — which will officially be inducted next July.

“These are people who are not found in history books,” said Martinez. “We want to revive their memory and talk about them.”

To be considered for the distinction, individuals must have served the Canarsie community for at least a decade, belonged to a community group or city government agency while living in the area, and selflessly served to better the lives of Canarsie residents.

Although it lacks a brick-and-mortar location, the Canarsie History Museum has sought to keep the neighborhood’s history alive since 1999 by visiting schools, producing documentaries, and authoring a book on the area’s colorful past.

Martinez claim’s his neighborhood-based hall of fame is first of its kind in the borough, and hopes the idea spreads to other neighborhoods in Brooklyn as a way to safeguard their unique histories.

“Every neighborhood has people that cared for their community,” Martinez said. “Whether it’s a policeman, a fireman or an activist.”

Nominations for the Canarsie Hall of Fame can be submitted online here.

Reach reporter Jessica Parks at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jparks@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @_JessicaParks.
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