by Kevin Walsh

Port Richmond has its beginnings in the 1690s and early 1700s when Dutch and French colonists settled here. After the landowning Haughwout family laid out the town’s tight street grid system in the 1830s the town became a commercial and industrial hub, and many of the buildings from Port Richmond’s “golden age” can still be found here. The Bayonne Bridge to New Jersey, the longest steel arch bridge in the world when it was completed, has provided a beautiful backdrop here since 1931.

The cognoscenti haven’t discovered this small town yet, and thus it remains hidden from notice — but some of its architecture can be counted among Staten Island’s best.

Port Richmond has remained a commercial hub to the present, although the opening of the Staten Island Mall in the 1970s definitely put a dent in its fortunes. It remains the terminus of Staten Island’s main bus route from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, the S53.

This lengthy brick building on the east side of Port Richmond Avenue between Richmond Terrace and Church Street was built in 1874 for Charles Griffith, a boot and shoe dealer. Directly abutting it on Richmond Terrace until 1945 was an 18th Century private residence known to be the last home of Aaron Burr, the third Vice President; that building was demolished in 1945.


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