ST. GEORGE HISTORIC DISTRICT AND PROPOSED EXTENSION
When the St. George/New Brighton Historic District in the northern part of Staten Island was designated in 1994, it was only the second designated district in the entire borough. The district includes some of Staten Island’s best-preserved suburban homes from the 1830s to the 1930s, which are set within the hilly topography of the neighborhood. New Brighton originated in the 1830s as one of the earliest planned suburban communities in the New York area. However, it was not until the 1880s when ferry terminal opened and the Staten Island Rapid Transit lines were constructed that the neighborhood began to fully flourish with the construction of Colonial Revival, Queen Anne and Shingle Style homes that remain today.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission was especially conservative when drawing the boundaries of the St. George/New Brighton Historic District. The district only includes the area from the south side of Carroll Place to the north side of St. Mark Place, from Nicholas Street to the west side of Westervelt Avenue. The boundaries exclude the area to the south, much of which is worthy of designation. The suburban historic homes of Staten Island have come under threat in recent years due to intense development pressure in the borough. The undesignated areas of the St. George neighborhood are particularly threatened because of their proximity to the ferry terminal. An expanded district in this area is crucial to protecting this suburban neighborhood.
When the St. George/New Brighton Historic District was initially heard by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Historic Districts Council urged the Commission to consider a larger area for designation. The St. George Civic Association has since been active in advocating for a district extension called “St. George II.” The Historic Districts Council surveyed the “St. George II” area in 1999 and was impressed by the neighborhood’s many intact 19th and 20th century houses and by the interesting manner in which the homes are built in the topography.
The expanded historic district focuses on the area known as Fort Hill; this area is roughly south of Hamilton Avenue, north of Fort Place, west of St. Marks Place, and east of Westervelt Avenue. The houses in this area similar in all ways to those in the existing district. Additionally, Richmond Terrace, currently abutting the district and equally similar to the designated properties, is a natural boundary at the shoreline. The extension of the St. George/New Brighton Historic District is fully justified by the area’s architectural significance, consistency and sense of place.