Christopher House #44

The Christopher House is set back from the west side of Arthur Kill Road near Richmond Creek. Its original location was at 819 Willowbrook Road in Willowbrook.  It is a one and one-half story stone farmhouse in a simple vernacular style with Dutch influences such as a spring eave and jambless fireplaces.  It was constructed in two sections, ca. 1720 and ca. 1730, each having one room with a cellar below and a garret above.

The Christopher House's primary claim to fame is that it was reputedly the meeting place for the local Committee of Safety during the American Revolution. The house was built by the Christopher family, a family of northern European and English heritage who had been in the new world for several generations. John Christopher (ca. 1704 - ca. 1768) is believed to have built the first section of the house ca. 1720. His son Joseph Christopher (1736-1825) owned the house from ca. 1764 until his death in 1825. He married Charity (Geertruyde) Haughwout ca. 1761, and by the time of the American Revolution they had seven children ranging in age from newborn to teenager.

Upon Joseph's death in 1825, the house passed to the hands of an absentee landlord, David Decker, and by 1852 the house was owned by Thomas Standring. Standring, a recent immigrant from England, enlarged the house (which he called Chestnut Cottage) and lived there with his wife and five children. He built a water-powered mill, producing steel combs for use in the wool and cotton industries. Thomas Standring died ca. 1890, but his son Samuel carried on the family business. Upon Samuel's death, his beneficiaries included Mary Lener, Adelaide Sykes Egan, and Horace Sykes. Adelaide Egan (Samuel Standring's niece) and her husband continued as owners, using the house as a summer residence for many years. Mrs. Egan died in 1962, and in 1969 her husband deeded the house to the Staten Island Historical Society. The house was disassembled and relocated to Historic Richmond Town, where it was reconstructed in 1974-1978.

The Christopher House was designated an official New York City landmark in 1967. The Historical Society completed the restoration of the house in 2005, and it opened to the public in that year. It is furnished with reproduction furniture and household items that portray Staten Island life in colonial and Revolutionary War times.

Sarah Hermann