Four Sites | One Museum
Historic Richmond Town is a large museum complex that's spread over 100 acres on four separate sites in Staten Island, the greenest borough of New York City. Each of these sites is a unique place for learning and reflection. They are places where present-day lives intersect with those of earlier times. Programs, activities, and opportunities for touring the sites are listed on our calendar. You can also contact us to plan a group tour.
While they have stood firm, these sites are not frozen in time; they are integral parts of their present-day neighborhoods, affected by changing weather, by passing cars, and by the people who live or work nearby. They contribute to Staten Island, to our sense of local community and national identity.
Our combined assets make us the largest cultural institution on Staten Island, with a lot that needs our care. We manage these culturally significant assets in perpetuity. They are real and permanent. They are not going anywhere; they can't be sold or moved. It is a big responsibility, and one that impacts the personality of our entire community. As a museum we are bound to act responsibly, and with the help of supporters and visitors, to protect and guide these treasures into the future.
Knowing there are places that have stood firm, despite the passage of time, reminds us of our place in history and helps us to reflect on what is important to us now and in the future.
The legacy continues. Live long. Work hard. Enjoy life. Make history.
The area that is now Historic Richmond Town's main site served for nearly two centuries as the government center of Staten Island (Richmond County). After Staten Island became one of the five boroughs of New York City in 1898, the county offices were gradually moved to the northern part of Staten Island, closer to Manhattan, and Richmond Town became a quiet community as government offices, and the many businesses that served them, left the neighborhood.
In the 1930s, the Staten Island Historical Society saw a historic preservation opportunity in the buildings that had been vacated, and in 1933 the Society obtained permission to renovate the former County Clerk's and Surrogate's Office for use as a museum. The museum opened in 1935, and in the following years the Society acquired several other nearby historic buildings. In 1948 the Society was granted use of the Third County Courthouse (which today serves as the Visitor Center). In the early 1950s, the City of New York acquired the 100-acre Richmond Town site, which was designated Richmondtown Restoration and set aside for preservation. Today this site, with 30 historic structures, serves as the largest of the four sites that make up Historic Richmond Town.
To discover more: Richmondtown Map and Structures
Decker Farm is located at 435 Richmond Hill Road in New Springville. It comprises approximately 11 structures on 11 acres of land. Major structures include the farmhouse, large barn, small barn, and drive shed. Smaller outbuildings include a privy, chicken coop, smokehouse, and others. Most are on their original sites, but the smokehouse was moved to this property from another location in the 1960s.
Decker Farm (ca. 1810) remains New York City's oldest continuously working family style farm. The first known residents on the property were Japhet Alston (1774-1842) and his wife Sara Decker Alston. Among their 12 children was Sarah who continued to reside in the house with her husband John M. Decker, from about 1832. In 1841, Japhet sold the farm to Lorenzo Dow Decker for $1250. Tax assessments suggest that L.D. Decker made substantial improvements to the farm in the decade of his occupation. It passed to his widow, Mahala Ann Decker, who continued to keep the farm active.
The Billiou-Stillwell-Perine House is located at 1476 Richmond Road in Dongan Hills. It was built close to the time of Staten Island's first permanent settlement in 1661. The building is on its original site, though one section of the house may have been moved from South Beach and rebuilt ca. 1670-1680.
This is a one and one-half story structure that was built in five sections which were completed from ca. 1662-1663 to ca. 1830. The two original houses (ca. 1662-1663 and ca. 1670-1680), both built of rough fieldstone, were at first joined only at an overlapping corner with no connecting interior door. The later three sections are wood frame structures, built by members of the Perine family ca. 1760, ca. 1790, and ca. 1830. There are seven rooms on the first floor and about nine rooms upstairs, with three stairways.
The Judge Jacob Tysen House is located at 355 Fillmore Street on the corner of Tysen Street in Livingston, Staten Island, adjacent to the Snug Harbor Cultural Center. Its original location was on Richmond Terrace, one block away from its present site; it was moved in the 1880s.
Built in 1834, the two-story wood frame features three different architectural styles displaying typical 18th century design, Federal style, and Greek Revival. Judge Jacob Tysen (1773-1848) was a judge, member of Congress from 1826 to 1828, and a New York State Senator from 1828 to 1830.