What to do when you lose your county seat? Stop time.
At least, that’s how Historic Richmond Town dealt with the end of their hey day as Staten Island’s commercial and civic center. Originally a crossroads settlement, Richmond Town became the center for business and government on Staten Island in the 1700s, bustling with blacksmiths and shoemakers and court sessions. But by the time SI became a part of the five New York City boroughs in 1898, the once happening town found itself in a gradual decline. So they stopped moving forward!
Established in 1958, soaked in the same depression-era passion which created other historic preservation sites (like Colonial Williamsburg), Historic Richmond Town was a joint effort of the Staten Island Historical Society and the City of New York, the purpose being “not to freeze a single moment in time, but to create a journey through time”. Today, over 30 original historical structures (not reconstructed or rebuilt; the real deal) including homes, commercial, and civic buildings have been preserved on over 100 acres in Richmond Town, including NYC’s oldest continuously operating farm and one of the oldest homes in the country, still standing on its original location after almost 350 years.
It’s a bizarre hunk of the past preserved in what’s otherwise arguably the most modern city in the world, and while visiting is certainly very interesting, stumbling upon it is beyond bizarre.
Know Before You Go
Take the S74 Arthur Kill Road bus from the St. George Ferry Terminal. The ride from the ferry terminal takes about 37 minutes. The S54 Manor Road bus provides local service weekdays.