Anglicans established the Church of St. Andrew at the head of the Fresh Kills in the early 18th century. A graveyard and church were begun by 1709 and the stone church building completed in 1712, adding a major institutional presence to the growing hamlet of Richmond. The church was granted its charter by Queen Anne in 1713.
In 1770 the original church building was enlarged and a tall, elegant steeple was added. The steeple followed a design published by the English architect James Gibbs. With its location on a hill adding to the effect of the tall steeple, the church became an important monument that was visible from miles away.
During the American Revolution, the church was a center of military activity. Rev. Richard Charlton, who was a rector of St. Andrew’s at the start of the Revolution (until 1777), is remembered as the grandfather of Saint Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, who was the first native-born U.S. citizen to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church; Charlton and Seton family members are among the distinguished early citizens whose graves can be found in the church’s cemetery.
The early church building was severely damaged by fire on March 29, 1867 and again in October 1872. During the periods of rebuilding, services were held in the nearby Reformed Dutch Church.
Today, the Episcopal Church of St. Andrew is an active faith community. The current structure, attributed to builder George Mersereau in 1872, is noted for the English influences in its design. It was designated a New York City landmark in 1967 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. The adjoining Burch Hall was built in 1924.