LaTourette Park & Golf Course

Historic Richmond Town

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

Historic Richmond Town in LaTourette Park is a remarkable historic village and museum that encompasses four centuries of the history and culture of Staten Island. The town of Richmond, which began as a modest hamlet in the 1690s, became the county seat of government in 1728. The village weathered the turbulence of British occupation during the Revolutionary War and saw expansion in the 19th century. After Staten Island was incorporated into the City of New York in 1898, its government offices were moved to the town of St. George for its proximity to the ferry, and Richmond gradually regained the character of a quiet residential area.

New York City’s only historic village was first opened to the public in 1935, when the Staten Island Historical Society acquired and restored the Voorlezer’s House (c. 1695), the oldest surviving elementary school in the country. Today Richmond Town’s 100 acres include 28 historic buildings dating from the late 17th to the early 20th centuries, half of which stand at their original locations. From a stately Greek Revival courthouse to a one-room general store, they exemplify a variety of architectural styles.

Visitors can see the daily trades and customs of old Richmond Town demonstrated at many of the historic houses open to the public. Skills such as carpentry, spinning and weaving, quilting, fireplace cooking, basket weaving, tinsmithing, and printing on a rare Stansbury press are reenacted. The Society’s museum exhibitions of folk art, costumes, textiles, and tools tell the history of the borough of Richmond. A variety of interpretive programs and special events are offered annually, including a Reenactors’ encampment, Autumn Celebration, month-long Christmas festivities, and the Richmond County Fair.

Richmond Town is a joint project of New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs, Parks, the Historic House Trust, and the Staten Island Historical Society. With its farmhouses, trade shops and county courthouse, Historic Richmond Town makes an early American community come to life. In a city known for its towering skyscrapers, Richmond Town preserves a human-scaled past for future generations.

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