A detailed look at Staten Island's most historically significant parks.
Posted by Anthony Licciardello on Sunday, May 21st, 2023 at 1:48pm.
One of the five boroughs of New York City, Staten Island, is home to a number of state and federal parks that provide stunning natural scenery and recreational activities. Conference House Park in Tottenville and Fort Wadsworth are two important Staten Island parks. A thorough history of these parks is provided here:
1. Conference House Park: This Staten Island neighborhood's Conference House Park is renowned for its historical significance as the location of the Conference House, where an important peace conference regarding the American Revolutionary War was held.
The Conference House was initially constructed as a stone farmhouse in the 17th century by Captain Christopher Billopp in 1678. The home was owned by several people over the years until 1770, when Colonel Christopher Billopp Jr. took possession of it.
The Conference House rose to notoriety as the site of a peace conference in 1776, at the height of the American Revolutionary War. Representatives of the Continental Congress met with British Admiral Lord Richard Howe in an effort to put an end to the war, including Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Edward Rutledge. However, the talks fell through, and the conflict went on.
The Conference House was utilized as a summer getaway and had a number of owners over the years. The home was in danger of being demolished in the middle of the 20th century because of plans for urban growth because it had become run-down. The ancient home was successfully preserved from demolition thanks to a community-led initiative.
The land was purchased by the Conference House Association and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation in 1966, and it was later designated as a city park. Conference House Park now includes adjacent open spaces and waterfront areas in addition to the historic Conference House. The park offers chances for outdoor pursuits like hiking, picnicking, and taking in picturesque views of Raritan Bay.
2. Fort Wadsworth: Situated on Staten Island's northeastern shore, Fort Wadsworth was once a military outpost. Its founding as a fort to protect New York Harbor can be traced back to the early 19th century.
Daniel D. Tompkins, a former New York governor who later served as vice president of the United States, is remembered by the name Fort Tompkins, which was given to the first fort on the location. The fort's construction started in 1806 and proceeded over the years with many upgrades and additions.
Fort Tompkins was crucial in protecting New York City from anticipated British attacks during the War of 1812. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the fort remained a military outpost. It was used during the American Civil War and both World Wars, and it underwent upgrades and alterations to meet shifting military requirements.
Fort Wadsworth was shut down in 1965, and the National Park Service received ownership of the property. It was incorporated into the Gateway National Recreation Area, which also has a number of park units near New York City. Fort Wadsworth is now a historical landmark and park where visitors may explore its military buildings, take in the beautiful harbor vistas, and discover more about its fascinating past.
Both Conference House Park and Fort Wadsworth are important cultural and recreational assets that help to preserve Staten Island's heritage and give the locals places to relax in nature and connect with the past.