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The Conference House of Staten Island

September 2, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Phineas Upham

Located on the southernmost tip of Staten Island is the Conference House, which was built in 1680. It’s the last standing home from that era, built in the Dutch Colonial style, and it’s become a registered landmark in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Conference House was built on Lenape land, which is widely believed to have been a burial ground. It was commissioned by Captain Christopher Billopp, who earned a 932 parcel of land for his service in the English Royal Navy.

Billopp, the legend goes, played a central role in binding Staten Island to New York. At the time, there was some debate as to which region could lay claim to Staten Island, so a bet was proposed. If Christopher Billop could circumnavigate Staten Island in a single day, then the area would belong to New York. As history shows, Billop was successful in this task.

The date that Billopp’s mansion was constructed isn’t easy to verify, as there seems to be record of an existing home already at that location. What we do know is that the house was passed down to his grandson, who led loyalists during the American Revolution. This was an important point in time for the home, as Lord Howe of the British side wanted to try and broker a deal to end the war.

He invited Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Edward Rutledge for a three hour meeting. In the end, the American’s politely declined Howe’s offer of peace. A move that would lock the two powers in war for another seven years.


Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or Facebook page.

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