Richmondtown

A list of Staten Island’s most unique neighborhoods would almost certainly include Richmondtown.

Welcome to Richmondtown

 

All About Richmondtown, Staten Island, NY

 
A list of Staten Island’s most unique neighborhoods would almost certainly include Richmondtown. Located in the Mid-Island section, the community is obviously most famous for Historic Richmondtown, the living history village and cultural center of Staten Island. Surrounded by cemeteries and parks, Richmondtown is an oasis with many beautiful homes.
 
This Mid-Island community is bordered by Great Kills, Oakwood Heights, and Lighthouse Hill. To the west is the amazing LaTourette Golf Course and Staten Island Greenbelt. It once served as the county’s seat before St. George, echoing the borough’s official name, Richmond County.
 

Richmondtown Neighborhood Background

 
We can trace Richmondtown’s history back to its days as a top oyster harvesting spot. Oystering was not confined to just the bay; the river of Fresh Kills and an offshoot called Richmond Creek once provided an abundance of oysters too. Originally called “Cocclestown,” this name probably came from the term coccle (or cockle) shell, which refers to clam or oyster shells.
 
Cocclestown was centrally located and this geography made it a good choice to serve as Richmond County’s civic seat beginning in 1729. Officials chose to then rename the community Richmondtown. The name originated in 1683 when the colony of New York was split into ten separate counties. It was named to honor Charles Lennox, Duke of Richmond and illegitimate son of Charles II.
 
During the Revolutionary War, Staten Island harbored British loyalist soldiers. Richmondtown was a popular neighborhood where many of them stayed, often in the homes of Richmondtown’s families. In an effort to condemn rebels, the British burned down many of the area’s buildings, most memorably the Reformed Dutch Church and the Richmond County Courthouse. After the revolution ended, the Courthouse was rebuilt. A third, larger Courthouse was built in 1837. But by 1898, the Borough of Richmond was consolidated into the City of New York. Government operations needed to be conducted nearer to Manhattan, so the county seat moved to St. George in 1919.
 
Moving on to the Great Depression, volunteers with the Staten Island Historical Society felt that more should be done to preserve the island’s history. Historic Richmondtown was established in 1958 on 100 acres. Some of Staten Island’s oldest homes are found here. The oldest of these is the Britton House. This home was built in 1670 though is best known for being the residence of Lord Nathaniel Britton from 1895-1915. Like many of Historic Richmondtown’s homes, this one was actually relocated from another neighborhood; in this case, New Dorp.
 
The oldest of Richmondtown’s original structures is the Voorlezer House, built in 1695 by the Dutch Reformed Church. Voorlezer is Dutch for “the pastor’s assistant.” This house was constructed by The Dutch Reformed Church. Some other notable buildings are The Treasure House (1720), the third County Courthouse (1837), and The Schwiebert House (1910).
 

Life in Richmondtown Staten Island Today

 
Historic Richmondtown draws visitors from all over the world today. Not only is colonial history preserved here in its many landmarked buildings and period actors, Historic Richmondtown also hosts events like the famous Richmond County Fair and New York City Chili Cookoff. The location has also served as a backdrop for Hollywood movies and television, such as Boardwalk Empire. On the outskirts is the United Hebrew Cemetery, an important burial ground for New Yorkers of the Jewish faith.
 
With Historic Richmondtown as its thriving heart, there are many other reasons to love this neighborhood. First, the parks are some of New York’s best. The Staten Island Greenbelt (the city’s second largest park) is a natural wonder with distinct areas like High Rock Park and Blood Root Valley. Some of Staten Island’s best hiking trails are here, and you may very well spot a deer on your hike! Golfers will love the beautiful LaTourette Golf Course along the western edge.
 
This community has also come into its own as a luxury neighborhood. Richmondtown homes run the gambit from lovely townhouses to sprawling mansions. Lots of high end new construction is cropping up but there are very old character homes too. Ranch and hi-ranch homes became popular right after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opened during the 1960’s. The natural beauty of this neighborhood is not the only thing families will love- the schools are very highly rated! Children here by default attend PS 23 Richmondtown, PS 50 Frank Hankinson, IS 24 Myra S. Barnes, and Susan E. Wagner High School.
 
The train is not too close, so it’s best to own a car in Richmondtown. Being in the Mid-Island section means that driving to any one spot on the island should not take long. There are a few local and express bus routes in the area too, mainly via Arthur Kill Road and Richmond Road.
 
 

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