Edwards-Barton House #3

 
 

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 this house was constructed, Edwards owned and resided in a building on the adjoining property which is now known as the Guyon Store or Tavern. Edwards was a tailor, and by 1850 he was a moderately prosperous man. By 1854 he had become County Treasurer, and later became a Justice of the Peace, while continuing in his occupation as a tailor. In the 1860 census he was listed as a "Gentleman." He was also a vestryman at St. Andrew's Church.

Since Edwards passed away in 1870, he only lived in the house for a brief time. His wife Deborah continued to live there with their two daughters, Ella and Lucretia. They jointly inherited the Edwards-Barton House property in 1888, after the death of their mother.

Ella had moved from the house after her 1878 marriage to Willis Barton (1844-1918), a stock broker who worked in Manhattan. The couple initially lived in Stapleton, but they moved into the Edwards-Barton House in 1892, and lived there with their five children. Sons Willis E. and Samuel E. both became involved in finance, Willis as an auditor and accountant and Samuel as a banker. Daughter Mary E. relocated after her marriage to George R. Coleman. Sons Francis, a clerk, and Leroy, an electrician, were still living in the house in 1912. It is thought that between 1912 and 1915, the remaining members of the Barton family moved from the house and rented it to the DeMuth family.

It is not known how long the DeMuth family lived in the house, and there may have been other renters living there before it was purchased by Nicola and Antonietta Aquilino in 1921. The Aquilinos moved to Richmond from Manhattan, and lived in the Edwards-Barton house with their two children. Sometime before 1927, Nicola built a one-story brick building directly on the corner of Court Place and Richmond Road in which he ran a retail grocery. In the early 1930s it was changed to a billiard academy. Around this time it may also have become a restaurant-tavern which was later known as Aquilino's Pizzeria and Restaurant. It was a popular restaurant, one of the first such Italian restaurants on the island.

The Aquilinos rented a second-floor apartment in the house to tenants. Anecdotal evidence suggests the family of Louis and Josephine Dellarco were among the residents in the 1930s. A Bucari family may also have rented living space, possibly in the 1920s. Antonietta Aquilino lived in the house until 1966, when it became part of Historic Richmond Town. A person by the name of Gittens may also have resided in the house around 1965. The restaurant structure was demolished in 1966.

The Edwards-Barton House was designated an official New York City landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2001. The archives at Historic Richmond Town contain receipts for the labor and materials used in the construction of the Edwards-Barton House as well as personal papers of some of its inhabitants, donated by descendants of families who lived there.

The Edwards-Barton House is currently awaiting restoration and is not open to the public.

Sarah Hermann