Reformed Church on Staten Island

Discover the Reformed Church on Staten Island

The Reformed Church on Staten Island is a significant historical and cultural landmark. Established in 1660, it has played a central role in the community for centuries. The church is located at 54 Port Richmond Avenue, in the Port Richmond neighborhood of Staten Island, and has been on the same site since 1680. It is recognized for its continuous congregation, which dates back to the mid-17th century​​.

The church building, constructed in 1844, showcases Greek Revival architecture, featuring a brick foundation and prominent Doric columns. This building replaced earlier structures built in 1680, 1717, and 1787​​.

The church grounds also include a historic cemetery, one of the oldest in New York City. This cemetery is the final resting place for many notable figures from Staten Island’s history, including war heroes from the American Revolution and the Civil War​​.

The Reformed Church on Staten Island holds the status of a New York City Landmark and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This designation underscores its importance in American history and the efforts to preserve its legacy.

Historical Background

The Reformed Church on Staten Island was founded in the 17th century. Shortly after its establishment, the first church was constructed to serve the congregation. Over the years, the church has undergone several reconstructions due to various circumstances. The second church, built in 1717, was destroyed during the American Revolutionary War.

In 1787, a new church was built to replace the one lost in the war. This building served the congregation until 1844 when the current church was constructed. Each reconstruction showcases the church’s resilience and the community’s dedication to preserving their place of worship​​.

The church’s historical records are extensive, with archives dating back to 1688 and baptismal records starting from 1696. These records provide a detailed account of the church’s enduring presence and its significant role in the local community.

Architectural Significance

The current building of the Reformed Church was constructed in 1844, embodying the elegance of Greek Revival architecture. This style, popular in the mid-19th century, gives the church its grand and timeless appearance. Imagine walking up to its front facade, where a solid brick foundation and impressive Doric columns stand proudly​​.

Designed by Staten Island builder James G. Burger, the church boasts architectural features that catch the eye. Flanking brick pilasters and a portico supported by twin sets of fluted Doric columns create a sense of classical beauty and historical significance. These elements aren’t just structural; they tell a story of the church’s enduring presence​​.

Step inside, and you’ll be greeted by the stunning stained-glass windows. These windows, made with opalescent glass before 1898, feature strong Tiffany design elements, adding a touch of artistic brilliance. The light streaming through these windows fills the space with a warm, colorful glow that feels almost magical​​.

The church also houses an Austin Organ, which adds to the ambiance with its rich, melodious sound. The organ is illuminated by the large north facade windows, each 5 feet wide and 12 feet high. These windows not only enhance the church’s architectural beauty but also create an inspiring play of light within the space​​.

The architectural significance of the Reformed Church is clear in its classical design, historic stained-glass windows, and intricate details. These features reflect the skilled craftsmanship of the 19th century and invite you to appreciate the beauty and history that have been preserved through the years​.

Community and Cultural Impact

The Reformed Church is more than just a building—it’s the heart of the Port Richmond community. Since the beginning, this church has been a gathering place for friends and families, a place where people come together to celebrate, support each other, and find comfort​​.

Picture a Sunday morning, where generations gather to learn and share. The church’s educational programs, like Sunday school, help bring everyone together, creating a sense of family and belonging that spans decades​​.

During the American Revolutionary War, the church played an active role. Imagine the courage of its members, standing firm in their beliefs and supporting their community. The church’s archives, dating back to 1688, are filled with stories of bravery and resilience, offering a glimpse into the past​​.

Beyond its religious services, the church supports many community and cultural activities. It helps preserve the rich heritage of Staten Island, making sure the church and its historic cemetery remain key parts of the local identity. Walking through the cemetery, you can’t help but feel connected to those who came before us, understanding the importance of these sacred grounds​​.

Today, the Reformed Church on Staten Island continues to be a vital part of the community. It provides spiritual guidance, education, and a deep connection to the area’s history. It’s about keeping the community spirit alive, fostering pride, and ensuring the stories and values of the past are remembered​.

Visiting this church feels like getting a warm hug from a community that has stood the test of time. It’s about feeling the continuity of generations and being part of something bigger than yourself.

The Historic Cemetery

The historic cemetery at the Reformed Church is a place where history comes alive. Established in the late 17th century, this cemetery is not just a resting place but a repository of stories and legacies. Walking among the gravestones, you can feel the presence of those who lived through some of the most significant events in American history​​.

Here, you’ll discover the graves of war heroes from the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. These individuals didn’t just experience history—they shaped it. As you explore, you might feel a deep connection to these figures, appreciating the sacrifices and contributions that helped build the nation we know today​​.

The cemetery is also a showcase of historical and artistic significance. With tombstone carvings by seventeen major artisans, each gravestone is a piece of art that tells a unique story. This variety adds a rich cultural layer to the cemetery, highlighting the diverse influences that have shaped this community over the centuries.

Being one of the ten oldest burial places in New York City, the cemetery holds a special place in history. Its nomination as a National Historic Site ensures that these stories will continue to be remembered and honored for generations. The cemetery is not just a historical landmark; it’s a bridge connecting the past with the present, allowing us to reflect on our heritage and the lives that came before us​​.

Visiting the cemetery at the Reformed Church on Staten Island is more than a walk through history. It’s an emotional journey that brings you closer to the heart of Staten Island’s legacy. As you stand among the tombstones, you can almost hear the echoes of the past, reminding us of the enduring spirit and resilience of this community.


The Reformed Church on Staten Island is a powerful reminder of the community’s rich history and enduring spirit. Its continuous presence since the 17th century and its beautiful Greek Revival architecture make it a vital part of the local heritage​​.

The church’s contributions to community life, from its educational programs to its role in historical events, have deeply influenced the identity of Staten Island. Recognized as a New York City Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the church is a treasure worth preserving​.

As you walk through the church and its historic cemetery, you can’t help but feel a deep connection to the past. This site is more than just a landmark; it’s a place where stories of courage and community come to life. By visiting and supporting the Reformed Church on Staten Island, you help keep these stories alive for future generations, ensuring that this rich heritage continues to inspire and educate.

Visitor Information:

54 Port Richmond Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10302
Tel: 347-596-4957

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