Visit Conference House Park
At more than 286 acres, Conference House Park is a serene escape from the bustle of the city. Located at the southernmost point of both the city and state, this Staten Island park affords nearby views of New Jersey's Perth Amboy, off the Arthur Kill River and Lower Raritan Bay that washes up on the park's shores.
At one time, the area was home to animals such as black bears, beavers, wolves and red and gray foxes. And the Lene Lenape Indians, who once lived here seasonally, used the bluff as a burial ground. Today, the park hosts many horseshoe crabs that wash ashore the 2.5 miles of beach to lay eggs every May and June in connection with the lunar cycle and river's tides. Once on the beach, the female horseshoe crabs dig a hole in the sand and lay up to 20,000 tiny olive-green eggs inside. The male horseshoe crabs then rush to be the first to fertilize. Learn more
The Conference House was built in 1680, and was owned by the Billopp family. The historic, two-story stone manor was also home to the Ward family in the late 18th century and early 19th century, as well as a 19th-century hotel, and a rat-poison factory before becoming city property in 1926, and becoming the first museum in Staten Island.
But the historic house is best known and named for hosting the unsuccessful peace conference on Sept. 11, 1778 between the Americans (namely Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Edward Rutledge) and the English to end the Revolutionary War. After about three hours of negotiating, no agreement was reached at the peace conference and the war continued for seven more years. Learn more
Take a walk through the southern regions of the park in spring to see the monarch butterflies fluttering around the park's "South Pole" after their winter-long hibernation. The park also hosts kayak and canoe launching sites, as well as biking and hiking trails.
Spot the Osage orange (Maclura pomifera) trees in the park and throughout southern Staten Island. These exceptionally large and wonderful specimens was brought to the Island and popularized by Fredrick Law Olmsted as a great ornamental tree for planting.
During the winter, nearby Tottenville residents frequent the park on snow days to hit the slopes with their children.
Conference House Park is also home to three other historic buildings, including the Ward House, Biddle House and the Rutan-Beckett House, shown here.
Events at Conference House Park
Tour the historic Conference House and more! More info
For more information about Conference House Park, please visit the Conference House Park page. The Conference House is a National Historic Landmark and New York City Landmark owned by the City of New York and operated by the Conference House Association as a house museum. Visit our Historic Houses page to take a look at more historic houses in Parks.