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basketmaker1

This house was built ca. 1810.  It is a simple, one and one-half story wood frame building with a rubble stone basement.  Its original location was on Richmond Avenue in New Springville.  It was moved to Historic Richmond Town in 1965.  The architecture is vernacular in style, with Dutch and Flemish influences. 

James S. Decker was the earliest known owner of the property. From 1839 to 1857, the house was owned by John DuPuy (1812-1849) and his wife Susan Ann (1817-1892), who lived there with their 3 children and a nephew. Its location near a creek leading to the Fresh Kills was important, since DuPuy was primarily a waterman (a boatman who fishes and also makes his boat available for hire), owning two fishing skiffs (rowboats) and half shares in a sloop and an oyster dredge. DuPuy died in 1849 at the age of 39, but his widow and children continued to live in the house until 1857, when Susan married another boatman, Abraham Price, and moved with him and his 4 children to Westfield.

The house remained unoccupied for a time until Mrs. Price sold the property in 1863 to Sylvanus Decker and his wife Eliza Jane. Decker had been a ship carpenter, but by 1865 was a waterman and later was noted as an oyster dealer. By 1875 the Deckers were living elsewhere, and they rented out the property to various tenants until selling it in 1917. The house was rented as a summer cottage in the 1920s, and sold again in 1947. The City of New York took possession of the property in 1953, and after the last resident left, the building was boarded up until being brought to Historic Richmond Town in 1965.

The house was refurnished in the 1980s to interpret the rural residence for a hypothetical family of six, ca. 1820 (based on the number of inhabitants during the residence of John DuPuy and family). The Deckers and DuPuys who occupied the house through the 19th century were families of moderate means. Variously listed in the official documents as oystermen, watermen, and farmers, these families were representative of New Springville residents during the first quarter of the 19th century. Most of these families owned small plots of land and devoted their energies to a variety of water-related activities in addition to part time farming and basket making. New Springville was a tightly knit community; neighbors were economically dependent upon one another and related by marriage and the common membership in the Asbury Methodist Church.

 A significant interpretive focus of this house (and the reason for its name) is the traditional craft of basket making. The making of baskets – simple containers of interwoven plant materials – was one of many traditional handcrafts commonly practiced by rural Staten Islanders. Before the mid-19th century, basketry was predominantly a part-time domestic activity. Most farmers and watermen prepared their own splint and wove as many baskets as they needed during the cold, rainy days or evenings of the winter and off-season.

By mid-century, the development of oystering as a major economic activity required large numbers of sturdy oak splint baskets, leading to the new profession of full-time oyster basket maker. James A. Morgan (1832-1915) of New Springville built a basket workshop which he operated for more than 50 years, producing handmade baskets. His work is represented in the kitchen of the Basket Maker's house; the reproduction shaving horse and many of the baskets on display are based on Morgan's originals.

The Basket Maker's House was designated an official New York City landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1969. The building is open to visitors.

Main Village - Structures

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  • The Third County Courthouse is located on Center Street at the head of Court Place. It was built in 1837 on this site, replacing earlier courthouse buildings that had been located on other sites nearby. Standing on one of the
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  • The Historical Museum is the former County Clerk's and Surrogate's office for Richmond County. It is a large brick structure in its original location on Center Street at the corner of Court Place. Its architecture features decorative bracketed eaves of
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  • The Edwards-Barton House remains on its original site on Richmond Road at the corner of Court Place, where it was constructed in 1869. The house was built for Webley J. Edwards (1816-1870) and his wife Deborah (Mercereau) Edwards (1823-1888). Before
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  • This privy (outhouse) now stands in the yard behind the Edwards-Barton House on Richmond Road. It originally stood on the property of the Jacob Crocheron House at its original location in Woodrow. At 12 feet wide, it is unusually large
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  • The Guyon Store is on its original site, on the south side of Richmond Road between Arthur Kill Road and Court Place. It was probably built ca. 1819 or 1820.  It is a simple two-story clapboard building with a one-story
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  • This structure is a coursed stone foundation for a barn. It was built by the staff at Historic Richmond Town in the area bounded by Center Street, Arthur Kill Road, and Richmond Road. It is appropriate for an early 19th-century
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  • The Town Pond was once located south of Richmond Road just east of Arthur Kill Road. Its existence is documented in the early 18th century, when Richmond was established as the county seat. The pond was likely drained and filled
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  • The establishment of a Richmond County jail was provided for by an Act of Assembly in 1704. This site was selected and construction was undertaken in 1710, with orders that the building be built of stone, two stories high, measuring
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  • In 1769, the Reformed Dutch Church built an edifice on what is now the corner of Center Street and Arthur Kill Road (not far from the Voorlezer's House which had been its meeting house in the previous century). This church
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  • The Parsonage is located on its original site on Arthur Kill Road at the corner of Clarke Avenue. It was built in 1855 as home for the pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church (now demolished) that once stood nearby. The
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  • The Annadale Railroad Station is now located north of Clarke Avenue and east of Arthur Kill Road. It was moved to Historic Richmond Town in 1975 from a location on Annadale Road in Annadale. The building has an unusual history.
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  • This railroad station, which once served the neighborhood of New Dorp, now stands on the south side of Center Street near Tysen Court. Its original location was near Rose Avenue and 6th Street (now New Dorp Plaza). It was built
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  • This structure was constructed for location filming of the television series Boardwalk Empire. It represents a 1920s American diner in the fictional town of Tabor Heights, New Jersey. This set was utilized for episodes which originally aired during the show’s
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  • The Rezeau-Van Pelt Cemetery is located near the intersection of Tysen Court and Center Street, just west of the Third County Courthouse, on the original site where it was established in the 1780s (decades before the courthouse was built). It
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  • The lawn between P.S. 28 and the Third County Courthouse is now used for visitor picnicking and outdoor concerts at Historic Richmond Town. But in earlier years, a house stood here, at 284 Center Street. The house was erected in
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