Staten Island Neighborhood Profile: Charleston
By the end of the seventeenth century, there were less than one thousand people living on Staten Island. On January 27, 1699, Jean Andrevet an immigrant from Merindal, France, purchased land from Tunis Egbert, who had moved from Long Island to Staten Island by 1691. This purchased land was in the town of Westfield, which is now known as the South Shore of Staten Island. After having many kids and making themselves a prominent family in Westfield, Jean, who had changed his name to John after immigrating, and his descendants had the village in which they were more populated named after them. Due to the fact that most people spelled words at the time how they felt they should be spelled, there were many variations of John's surname, and the village was named Androvetteville.
On June 4, 1836, Balthasar Kreischer, an immigrant from Hornbach, Germany, arrived in New York. Having learned the masonry trade from his father, he established a brick manufactory in Manhattan in 1845. During the early 1850's, Kreischer had discovered clay pits in the village of Androvetteville. By 1854, he began to manufacture fire bricks, which were in high demand, along with his sons, Charles, Edward and George. As a result, the manufactory became known as the B. Kreischer & Sons Fire Brick Manufactory. Within a few years, the brick manufactory became so popular that Androvetteville became known as Kreischerville.
During his years at the plant, Balthasar Kreisher had a mansion built for himself atop a hill which overlooked his factory. At the bottom of the hill, on Arthur Kill Road, he had two houses built for his sons Charles and Edward, who had eventually become superintendents of the factory. The Kreischer House, which was built for Charles Kreischer at 4500 Arthur Kill Road, is the only house of the family that has survived. On October 29, 1982, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1890, Peter Androvette, who had still owned land in the area, had four houses built in the vicinity of the factory. These houses were located at 71-73, 75-77, 81-83, and 85-87 Kreischer Street. These houses became the homes of workers who were employed by the B. Kreischer & Sons Fire Brick Manufactory. On July 26, 1994, the four houses were designated as New York City Landmarks.
After retiring, Balthasar Kreischer's sons were in command of the factory. However, Charles, who at the time had been superintendent, retired in 1892. Towards the end of that same year, the factory had burned down. Eighteen months later, on June 9, 1854, Edward, the youngest of the three, allegedly committed suicide. His passing, along with the departure of his older brother, left George, the eldest son, to run the factory by himself. By 1899, however, George sold the factory and moved away. In 1927, the factory was finally shut down due to the impending Great Depression.
During World War I, as you most likely know, many Americans became opposed to the inclusion of anything resembling the Germans. At that time, the village of Kreischerville had yet another name change. This time, it was changed to Charleston, in honor of Balthasar Kreischer's son.
In the neighborhood of Charleston, you will find the 260-acre Clay Pit Ponds Park Preserve. If the name didn't already give it away, this acreage of land is what had previously attracted Balthasar Kreischer. In 1976, it was taken over by the State of New York and transformed into the nature preserve that it is today. Aside from the natural beauty, the park also contains a 5-mile bridle path, the Abraham's Pond and Ellis Swamp hiking trails, and areas off-limits to the public, which are designated for endangered species.
You may be confused as to why there is a bridle path in Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve. The fact of the matter is, that upon entering the community of Charleston, you will find that many residents of the neighborhood still own horses. In fact, there are a few hundred of them still residing on the island. However, if you do not own a horse and do not care to acquire one, there are a few local bus options to consider. The s55, which travels along Bloomingdale Road, travels to Rossville and the Staten Island Mall. The s74 and s78 both travel from the St. George Ferry Terminal to the Bricktown Mall. Their routes involve Arthur Kill Road and Hylan Boulevard, respectively.
Today, Charleston Staten Island is comprised of large swaths of manufacture zoned land, and over the last 25 years limited amounts of residential development had taken place because of the zoning. Although, back in 2004 New York City Department of City Planning granted the rezoning of a large swath of property off Arthur Kill Rd. for the construction of Staten Island's first senior housing community known at the Tides at Charleston. For commonly known as "The Tides" this development exceeds 250 units of attached single family homes. Currently, the area falls under the scope of the West Shore rezoning study, which in initial draft looked to move to more town center development and mixed-use residential and commercial.
As far as transportation is concerned, It was not until April 24, 2011, that the s74 and s78 traveled all the way to the Bricktown Mall. The reason is that the shopping center was not always there. In 2007, the Bricktown Centre opened at 2700-2900 Veterans Road West. Currently, the stores that occupy the 42-acre site are Applebee's, a restaurant; Bed, Bath & Beyond, whose name is pretty self-explanatory; Christmas Tree Shops, a bargain store; Home Depot, the well-known home-improvement retailer; and Target, another well-known retailer who is almost as big as Walmart and which recently (2011) began to offer produce.
There are a number of schools bordering Charleston's community. The nearest public schools are P.S. 56, at 250 Kramer Avenue; P.S. 3, at 80 South Goff Avenue; P.S. 6, at 555 Page Avenue; I.S. 75, at 455 Huguenot Avenue; I.S. 34, at 528 Academy Avenue; and Tottenville High School, at 100 Luten Avenue. The closest Catholic schools are the St. Joseph/St. Thomas School, at 50 Maguire Avenue, and the Our Lady Help of Christians School, at 23 Summit Street. Other private schools in the area include Gateway Academy, at 200 Boscombe Avenue, at Yeshiva of Staten Island, at 1870 Drumgoole Road East. The schools that you read about here should only be used as a point of reference and not to be used to determine school zoning for any particular address. To find out which school your child is zoned for, you may contact your local public school board or administration.