H.H. Biddle House

Henry Hogg Biddle House: A Staten Island Treasure

Imagine stepping back in time to 1845. That’s exactly what you can do when you visit the Henry Hogg Biddle House in Staten Island. This old home is like a time machine, showing us how people lived almost 200 years ago.

The Biddle House is special because it’s one of the few Greek Revival homes still standing on Staten Island. It’s a real treat for anyone who loves history or old buildings. When you see it, you can almost picture horse-drawn carriages rolling by and people in old-fashioned clothes going about their day.

This house isn’t just a pretty old building. It tells us a lot about how Staten Island changed over time. The Biddle family, who owned the house, were big players in the area. They helped turn Staten Island from a quiet place with farms into a busy town where lots of people lived and worked.

When you visit the Biddle House, you are not just looking at an old home. You are seeing a piece of Staten Island’s story. It’s a great way to understand how the island became what it is today.

Historical Background

Biddle Family Tree Display

Henry Hogg Biddle, a prominent figure in Tottenville’s history, was born in 1806. He made his fortune through various business ventures, including the operation of a successful ferry service that connected Staten Island to New Jersey. In 1845, Biddle commissioned the construction of his grand residence, which would later become known as the Henry Hogg Biddle House. The mansion served as a private residence for Biddle and his family until he died in 1887.

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Architectural Significance

The Henry Hogg Biddle House is a prime example of the Greek Revival style, which was popular in the United States during the mid-19th century. The mansion features a unique spring eave construction, characterized by the use of curved wooden beams that extend from the roof to the tops of the columns, creating a distinctive “spring” effect. The house also boasts impressive double-height porticoes, which add to its grandeur and elegance.

The interior of the house is equally remarkable, with well-preserved original features such as marble fireplaces, intricate plasterwork, and a grand central staircase. These architectural elements make the Henry Hogg Biddle House a standout among other historical buildings in Staten Island.

Cultural and Community Impact

Beyond its architectural significance, the Henry Hogg Biddle House has played a vital role in the local community. The mansion is situated within the Conference House Park, which is home to several other historical landmarks, including the Conference House, where a crucial meeting took place between British and American representatives during the Revolutionary War.

The grounds of the Henry Hogg Biddle House, known as Biddle’s Grove, were once a popular gathering spot for the community. In the late 19th century, the grove served as a “temperance resort,” where visitors could enjoy picnics, concerts, and other events in an alcohol-free environment. These gatherings fostered a sense of unity and shared values among the residents of Tottenville.

Preservation Efforts

In recognition of its historical and architectural importance, the Henry Hogg Biddle House was designated as a New York City Landmark in 1967. This designation has helped protect the mansion from demolition and ensured its preservation for future generations.

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Local historical societies, such as the Historic Districts Council, have been instrumental in advocating for the house’s preservation and raising awareness about its significance. Over the years, the house has undergone several restoration projects to address structural issues and maintain its original features.

Visiting the Henry Hogg Biddle House

Location

  • Address: 70 Satterlee Street, Staten Island, NY 10307
  • Part of: Conference House Park

Opening Hours

The house is generally open for tours and events as part of the Conference House Park’s programming. Check the park’s website or contact the visitor center for the most current information.

Visitor Information

  • Conference House Park Visitor Center and Lenape Gallery: Located at 298 Satterlee Street, at the park’s entrance.
    • Hours: Typically open Tuesday through Friday, 10 AM to 2 PM.
    • Contact: (718) 984-6046

Nearby Attractions

  • Conference House: The park’s namesake, a historic site dating back to 1680.
  • Ward House: Another historic home within the park.
  • Rutan-Becket House: Showcasing 1950s-era interiors.

Directions

  • Public Transportation: Accessible via local Staten Island bus routes.
  • Driving: Ample parking is available near the park entrance.

Special Events and Programs

The park often hosts educational programs, historic reenactments, and cultural events. Check their calendar for upcoming activities.

Conclusion

The Henry Hogg Biddle House is a significant historical and architectural landmark in Staten Island that offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the area’s rich past. Its Greek Revival design, connection to local transportation history, and role as a community gathering place make it a valuable asset to Tottenville and the surrounding region.

As we strive to preserve our historical heritage, buildings like the Henry Hogg Biddle House serve as important reminders of the stories and events that have shaped our communities. By supporting the ongoing preservation efforts and visiting this remarkable mansion, we can ensure that future generations will have the chance to learn from and appreciate the legacy it represents.

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When you visit Staten Island, make sure to include a stop at the Henry Hogg Biddle House on your itinerary. Take a tour, attend a special event, or simply explore the grounds and soak in the atmosphere of this fascinating piece of local history. Your visit will not only be enriching and enjoyable but will also contribute to the continued preservation of this important landmark.

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