Public School 28 #16

Public School 28 was built in 1907-1908. It still stands on its original site on Center Street at the corner of St. Patrick's Place.

It is a large one-story brick building with front and rear wings and two later additions at the rear. Its hip roof is topped by an octagonal cupola. It has an attic and a high basement that serves as a ground floor. Two front entrances at either side of the building were presumably used for boys and girls. Interior details such as bulletin boards, chalkboards, antique inscribed doorknobs, and built-in shelving from its time as a school remain in place today.

Public School 28 was one of several new schools built in the years following the 1898 consolidation of Greater New York, when Staten Island became a borough of New York City. Prior to that time, the schools on Staten Island were under the jurisdiction of the Richmond County Superintendent of Schools and the State of New York, and they were known as "common schools."

Following consolidation, school construction on Staten Island was controlled by the Board of Education of the City of New York. In the decade after consolidation, several new schools were opened on Staten Island and a number of existing schoolhouses were replaced, such as Public School 28. The previous P.S. 28, which stood at the intersection of Richmond Hill and Old Mill Roads, had become deteriorated and overcrowded. In 1905 the Board of Education appropriated $4000 to purchase a vacant lot at Center Street and Garretson Avenue (now St. Patrick's Place) for construction of a new school.

Charles B. J. Snyder (1860-1945) was the Superintendent of School Buildings who oversaw the new construction. He was also the architect, and was responsible for the planning, design and construction of all new and expanded schools in the five boroughs. He was a specialist in school design, and his particular concern with health and safety issues focused on fire protection, ventilation, lighting, and classroom size. He utilized a variety of architectural styles, and his schools were considered inventive, handsome, and appropriate as civic monuments.

In 1916 Public School 28 was named the "Richmond School" when the Board of Education was giving names to all schools. The school was discontinued in 1965 when a new, larger public school (P.S. 23) opened nearby, but the building continued to serve a variety of uses for the Board of Education, including use as an annex for P.S. 23. In 1978 it became known as the "Francis C. Evans Curriculum Resource Center," in honor of the longtime Community School Board member who lived in the Stephens-Prier House diagonally across the street.

The building was acquired from the Board of Education in 1981 to become part of Historic Richmond Town. It now houses the Staten Island Historical Society Library and other collections storage, as well as providing classroom space for visiting school groups and public programs. The building was designated an official New York City landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1998.

Sarah Hermann