Lemon Creek Park

Seguine House

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

A stately Greek Revival structure, the Seguine House faces Prince’s Bay on the southern shore of Staten Island. Built in 1838 by Joseph H. Seguine (1801-1856), the house is a physical reminder of the classical architecture and thriving commerce of Staten Island during the mid-19th century.

Sometime between 1780 and 1786, James Seguine bought a large parcel of land near Lemon Creek from Abraham Manee, whose French Huguenot family had owned the land for over 80 years. Joseph, Seguine’s grandson and the fifth generation of the family on Staten Island, built the elegant two-and-a-half-story house in the high style typical of homes in the region at that time. He also added several outbuildings, including a large hay barn, a carriage house, and stables to support his estate.

Joseph Seguine inherited the family’s prosperous oystering business. A man of diverse pursuits, he also founded Staten Island Oil and Candlemaking, a manufacturing enterprise he built on the property; and he helped to establish the Staten Island Railroad Company. Despite his commitment to these pursuits, Seguine still found time to manage one of the largest salt hay farms in Richmond County.

Following Seguine’s death in 1856, the house remained in the family until 1868. When it was sold, the amount of land had decreased to 10 acres. During the late 19th century the building served as an inn or hotel at a time when Prince’s Bay had become a popular resort area. The house returned to Seguine’s descendents from 1916 through 1977 before being sold at auction in 1981 to George Burke. Burke stabilized the deteriorated house in 1989 and donated it to the City of New York, while retaining a life interest.

The Seguine House is notable for its large portico with paneled piers surmounted by a classical pediment. Formerly sheathed with clapboard, it is insulated with brick and mortar. Fresh air from the sea circulates through the building’s many windows and doors, arranged in classical symmetry. The house contains numerous fireplaces, some of which are adorned with marble and other distinctive touches added by Burke.

Surrounding Lemon Creek Park contains an equestrian center offering expert instruction on English show riding and a broad expanse of lawn that creates a wide vista to the water and natural terrain. This landscape is also home to a large purple martin bird (Progne subis) population. It is a place where history resides in unity with present occupants, and it is with this in mind that public tours of the house occur on a regular basis.

Directions to Lemon Creek Park

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