Staten Island Neighborhood Profile: Lighthouse Hill
Lighthouse Hill is the southernmost hill of Staten Island's range. It is bordered by the LaTourette Park and Golf Course on the north and overlooks Historic Richmond Town, which is below the hill. The hill also has a spectacular view of New York Harbor. None of the houses in Lighthouse Hill are the same; they are all custom made and, of Staten Island's many neighborhoods, are only rivaled by those of Todt Hill.
Before its current name, Lighthouse Hill was known as Richmond Hill. The name was changed when Richmond Light, which is also known as the Staten Island Lighthouse and the Ambrose Channel Range Light, was erected there. The 90-foot structure was built in 1912, at the corner of Lighthouse Avenue and Edinboro Road. It stands 141 feet above sea level and can be seen from twenty miles away. The Staten Island Lighthouse was designated as a New York City Landmark in 1968 and is still used to this day by the United States Coast Guard.
There are many famous houses on Lighthouse Hill. The most famous of all is the Crimson Beech, which is the only house in New York City that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Frank Lloyd Wright was an architect who was well-known for his eleven Marshall Erdman Prefab Houses. Crimson Beech is included in these. The house was manufactured in Madison, Wisconsin and shipped to Staten Island. In 1959, it was erected for Catherine and William Cass. Crimson Beech was named for a beech tree which once stood on the property.
A decade after the house was constructed, a hurricane removed the tree from the property.However, a new beech tree was planted in the same spot. In 1990, the house was designated as a New York City Landmark. Another home in Lighthouse Hill was the Keppler House. During the early part of the 20th century, Chester Aldritch owned the home. In 1909, he and a partner opened Aldrich Farm on forty acres they had purchased, which was a home for boys between the ages of 12 and 20. During World War I, many institutions were being used for wounded soldiers, so children would be brought to Aldrich Farm. In 1924, the Eger Lutheran Home purchased the property and opened the Eger Nowegian Home for the Aged, for Norwegian men and women over the age of sixty-five.
Jacqueline Klauber was a lifelong collected of Tibetan art in the 20th century. Her collection was so big that she decided she needed a place to keep everything. In 1945, the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art was established. It was named after the professional name Klauber used, Jacques Marchais. The museum was designed by Marchais to resemble a Himalayan monastery and was the first of that kind of architecture to grace the United States. It is located at 338 Lighthouse Avenue, overlooking Richmondtown. While much of the museum is the collection of Marchais' Tibetan art and artifacts, tai chi and meditation classes are also offered.
Today, Lighthouse Hill is one of Staten Island's luxury home communities. The homes in this neighborhood sits in abuts the Green Belt making the area one of Staten Island's more rustic settings. Consequently, that feature has kept this the area hidden in obscurity for some time, likely limiting newer home development. Some of that has changed in the last decade, as some new construction has appearance here, but it's very limited. Restrictive zoning and hillside preservation laws have also played a large role in keeping the area more sparsely developed.
There are several public, Catholic, and private schools near Lighthouse Hill. For public school, children can go to P.S. 23, at 30 Natick Street; I.S. 2, at 333 Midland Avenue; I.S. 72, at 33 Ferndale Avenue; Staten Island Technical High School, at 485 Clawson Street; McCown Expeditionary Learning School and the College of Staten Island High School for International Studies, both at 100 Essex Drive; and New Dorp High School, at 465 New Dorp Lane. The nearby Catholic schools are St. Patrick's School, at 3560 Richmond Road; Our Lady Queen of Peace School, at 22 Steele Avenue; and Monsignor Farrell High School, at 2900 Amboy Road. The other private schools in the area are Rabbi Jacob Joseph School, at 3495 Richmond Road, and New Dorp Christian Academy, at 259 Rose Avenue.
There are a few local buses that travel along Lighthouse Hill. They are the s54, the s57, and the s74. The s54 travels to West Brighton and Eltingville along Manor Road, while the s57 travels to Port Richmond and New Dorp along Bradley Avenue, and the s74 travels to St. George and the Bricktown Mall along Richmond Road. There is also the x15 express bus, which travels from the Eltingville Transit Center into Lower Manhattan, by using Arthur Kill Road and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.