Carpenter Shop #27

The Carpenter's Shop on the east side of Court Place is a reconstruction built primarily with historic building materials. The framing for the building is from the ca. 1830 kitchen wing of the Samuel Decker house. Since the wing did not have an end wall where it had originally joined the main house, new posts made of old timbers were added, and it was sided with shingles from the ca. 1790 Eith house on Richmond Avenue. A variety of other historic and new materials were used to complete the reconstruction; the historic materials were salvaged from old Staten Island buildings that had been demolished.

The idea for creating a carpenter's shop came into being in the 1960s. The original Samuel Decker house was vacant and in a state of disrepair at that time, so when the property owner offered the building to SIHS, it was dismantled and brought here with the intention of using it for parts. When examination of the building determined that the frame of the kitchen wing was in good condition, it was decided to use the materials to create a building to interpret the carpenter's trade. The frame was re-erected in 1966, and the rest of the work was completed by December 1967.

The carpenter's trade was an important one. In the 1850 federal census, 297 Staten Island men were listed as being in the woodworking trade; 165 of those were carpenters. Some of them may have worked in the window sash, door, and blind (shutter) making firms, of which there were at least 6 on the island. Quite a few probably worked as house builders. A good deal is known about the types of tools these carpenters used, since many of those tools have survived to this day, but there is little evidence for the number of shops on the island or their appearance. An item in the Richmond County Gazette in 1860 reveals that there was a carpenter's shop in Richmond, although the exact location is unknown.

Some of the tools that furnish the Carpenter's Shop belonged to Oscar Prall (1843- 1925), whose shop was located on Rockland Avenue in New Springville. Prall was a master carpenter, wheelwright, and wagon maker.





Sarah Hermann