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Third County Courthouse: Center of Civic Life on Staten Island

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Third County Courthouse: Center of Civic Life on Staten Island explores the building's form, function, and its central role in Staten Island's civic life. Sections of the exhibit describe courthouse architecture, notable trials, the political process, and the county jail.

In the early 1800s, the growing County of Richmond needed a new and bigger courthouse to replace the nearby 1790s courthouse, so leaders commissioned an impressive structure in the new style known as Greek Revival.

In 1858, two Staten Island residents, considered the ringleaders of an angry mob, were charged with arson after taking steps to eradicate hospital buildings...
Completed in 1837, the building was designed to reflect and inspire civic power and pride.

This was the place where generations of Staten Islanders exercised their political rights--once they'd been granted. In the early years of our nation's history, voting was generally restricted to white men who owned property and paid taxes. Constitutional amendments brought voting rights to a broader segment of Americans, and laws continued evolving due to the diligent work of determined citizens.

Among the criminal cases documented is the matter of the destruction of the quarantine. In 1858, two Staten Island residents, considered the ringleaders of an angry mob, were charged with arson after taking steps to eradicate hospital buildings that were seen as a danger to the community. The sensational case of accused murderer Polly Bodine is also presented, as well as the conviction and execution of Edward Reinhardt in 1881.

Images of historic photographs and documents show the fortress-like jail building that was constructed in 1860s (it was rebuilt in 1903, vacated in 1953, and demolished afterward). Among the imprisoned were Civil War soldiers charged with desertion, as well as the more typical larcenous, drunk or disorderly miscreants.

After Staten Island became one of the five boroughs of New York City in 1898, government and court functions were gradually moved to new facilities at St. George. The last court session at Richmondtown was in 1919. The structure continued in use for much-needed community service agencies until finding its current role as the proud centerpiece of Historic Richmond Town.

 

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Historic Richmond Town
441 Clarke Avenue

Staten Island, NY • 10306


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Online tickets are available up until 3pm, two weekdays before the event. For  Saturday and Sunday events, tickets are available online until 3 pm Thursday.

Upcoming Events

  • Yankee Peddler Day
    Sat - May 2, 2015 10:00AM
    Ladies and gents come on down and explore real bargains.
  • Breakfast at Bennett Café
    Sun - May 3, 2015 9:30AM
    Enjoy a delightful Sunday morning Homestyle Breakfast in our quaint café. Delicious!
  • Dinner at Bennett Café
    Fri - May 8, 2015 7:00PM
    Enjoy a delightful evening at our quaint café. Delicious!
  • Dinner at Bennett Café
    Sat - May 16, 2015 6:00PM
    Enjoy a delightful evening at our quaint café. Delicious!
  • Dinner at Bennett Café
    Fri - May 22, 2015 7:00PM
    Enjoy a delightful evening at our quaint café. Delicious!
  • Dinner at Bennett Café
    Fri - Jun 5, 2015 7:00PM
    Enjoy a delightful evening at our quaint café. Delicious!
  • UNCORKED!
    Sat - Jun 6, 2015 12:00PM
    NYC'S premier outdoor spring fine food and fun event!
  • Breakfast at Bennett Café
    Sun - Jun 14, 2015 9:30AM
    Enjoy a delightful Sunday morning Homestyle Breakfast in our quaint café. Delicious!
  • Dinner at Bennett Café
    Sat - Jun 20, 2015 6:00PM
    Enjoy a delightful evening at our quaint café. Delicious!
  • Father's Day Focus Tour
    Sun - Jun 21, 2015 1:00PM
    What did dad's workshop look like in the past?
  • Dinner at Bennett Café
    Fri - Jun 26, 2015 7:00PM
    Enjoy a delightful evening at our quaint café. Delicious!
  • Independence Day Celebration
    Sat - Jul 4, 2015 12:00PM
    It's an old-fashioned, patriotic celebration of the classic American holiday. Get your hand-churned ice cream and a pie-full of traditional fun!

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