Monday, January 24, 2011

Kreischerville's Rise and Fall

Balthasar named his mansion Fairview, it sat on top of a steep hill in Kreischerville.
The Kreischer Mansion was built in 1885 by a man named Balthasar Kreischer. Balthasar was a wealthy and successful brick manufacture who learned what he knew of brick making in Europe before he immigrated here in 1836.  He built this house along with another similar house for his son and daughter in law as a wedding gift.The other one burnt down ( reason unknown) after a very heated father/son fight, and the newlyweds were killed. From what I have heard the fight was very serous and Balthasar and his son where at each others throats. They weren't able to get over the fight and his son died while they were still fighting. The remaining mansion was turned into a restaurant and was said to be haunted. People reported doors slamming and lights turning on and off. I found a couple stories of the hauntings:

this is definitely i worked at the restaurant for about two weeks. i was a busboy there, and one night i waas sent into the basement to get supplies for the owner. i heard a door shut in the back of the basement. wondering who it was i went to the back and found nothing. after hearing some more suspicious noises i went back upstairs without the supplies. what i heard sounded like argueing but i was sure there was no one there. i quit my job there shortly after.-Chris

OMG! this place is freaky. 2 years ago a bunch of friends and I idled our car in front of the house. My friend (driver) started yelling at the house and siad that the guy dserved to bed dead and such… and some old guy in a pin-strip suit walked through the gate and made a swipe at the window. I screamed for my friend to hit the gas… turns out noone else saw the guy walk and the car and swip it…
Freaky part: after we were driving away finger marks streaked down the window on that side. My friend (driver again) goes “Oh yea… prove your here” “H-E-L-L-O” appeared backwards on the rear window so he could read it trhough his rearview mirror.
Needless to say I got outta that car ASAP. - Kabbit
Very Rare picture of the two houses together, this is the ONLY one I have found.

When I was a teen I used to hang out Feedback Studios which was right up the road from the Kreisher Mansion. This building intrigued me so much I did a day of research at the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences on the house. Balthazar Kreisher built the twin mansions for his sons, he did not inhabit any of the buildings. He had georgian style mansion that overlooked the brick factory. His mansion no longer exists.
Before the firs of the house, his son’s wife was having an affair with Dr. Washington who had his office and house on Main Street in Tottenville. In fact, his house still stands and a friend of mine’s parents still live there. The house is catty corner to the 123 precint. The last time I was there the house was yellow.(I now live in Savannah, Ga) Anyways, B’s son’s wife left her husband and then the house mysteriously burnt down. The fireplaces and some of the fixtures in the Dr. Washington house were actually salvaged from the Kreisher Mansion fire.
Now I have no doubt that the standing Kreisher Mansion is haunted. An ex friend of mine has pictures that prove to me that there are people still there. The last thing I have heard about the mansion is that the property was sold to a property developer that is making an old folks living community. With these changes there have been a ton of changes to the house, which saddens me. It’s a beautiful piece of architecture. - Michelle

this is indeed true my parents owned the resturant that once ocupied the house strange things happined daily we have since shut down the resturant and opened more profitable businesses but we still own the house ive also found that the house makes a greatt setting for a halloween party its a sure fire way 2 scare the sh*t out of my friends - James


My grandparents, father and myself all grew up in Charleston, Staten island. My grandfather once told my father a story of how when he was a little kid (early 1900s)on halloween they went running through the yard of the mansion. One kid ran into legs and somebody had hung themselve in the tree right near the house. Maybe that person has somethign to do with the encounters. I also think that the history is incorrect, I think there was 3 mansions built two next to eachother and one across the road. My aunt used to knwo the poepl whome lived there as a house right before it bacame a resturant. I would be scared sh*t to live there. -Charles Kosa

What interesting is that this family supplied most of the area with its bricks, definitely all of Staten Island, and some of Brooklyn. You can still find some of them in brick work that hasn't been up rooted or destroyed. The business started out being run by two people, Balthasar and his partner Charles Mumpeton, who wound up passing away. The company was first called under the New York branch of The New York & Staten Island Fire-Brick and Clay Retort Works, Kreischer & Mumpeton, it was originally established in 1845. And so it stayed that way until about 1849, when Mumpeton died and Kreischer hired his nephew to help out around the factory along side his 3 sons. With the discovery of the abundant amount of clay that was found in the area around the Sandy Grounds up to what we know today as Charleston, the business flourished.
Post office
In 1863 a post office opened in Kreischerville, named obviously after the family and their business. It closed in 1879 but was then reopened in 1886. It was located on Kreischer and Androvette St. The little town also included a church, a town store, and a small school.
Its one of Staten Island's mysteries, what happened to the Kreischer family? We know that some of them are buried in a cemetery in Brooklyn, but as to where they went and where the descendants are is unknown. Balthasar died in 1886 and the factory burnt down a few years later and then was rebuilt, though the business never really recovered. Under the pressure of a failing business one of the 2 remaining sons shot and killed himself and his widow is said to still haunt the site as well. 

After the restaurant closed down and the house was undergoing renovations to become housing for the elderly, the mansion became a sight for mob slayings. It became the scene of  a crime commented against a man named Robert McKelvey, he was killed by Bonanno family associates over a "bad debt" after being lured to the house by the groundskeeper and mob associate Joseph "Joe Black" Young. McKelvey was strangled, stabbed, and drowned in a pool on the site. After they cut up his body, they burned it in the mansions inferno. Investigators went looking for the furnace for evidence, but by the time they started looking it had been replaced because of the renovations. 

* Courtney Hayes My old neighbor murdered a man in Kreischer Mansion .. His house was soon raided by the FBI one lovely morning while I was leaving for school, and he is now in prison for life ;D Ahh I loved that house in Pleasent Plains lolol

Her neighbor did in fact kill McKelvey. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hylan BLVD, Snake Hill, GreatKills, Arthur Kill rd in the 1980's (videos)


 1) Hylan Blvd. Staten Island August 1983 Great Kills To Tottenville

2) Staten Island Richmond Town Snake Hill Latourette 1983

3)Arthur Kill Rd (Pt.1)Staten Island August 1983 Kreischer/Outer Bridge

4)Arthur Kill Rd. Pt. 2 August 1983 Black Garter Century Inn 


The video quality is poor but still you can see things you recognize and I still lovee the videos because it really captures what me and my friends used to do on a hot summer day on the island, just cruising around. Hope you enjoy! 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sea View: Embolishment of The White Plague

Sea View Hospital was not always a hospital, it started out as a poor house in 1829 called The Farm Colony. In its day it was extravagant and prestigious, very well known. When the hospital opened as Sea View Tuberculosis Hospital on October 28, 1912 it was considered to be the finest in the country for the treatment of TB, also known as 'the white plague'. In all there was 8 patient buildings that formed a semi circle, a children's hospital, and a rehab center that had 6 units. In all the total amount of beds the hospital had was 1.402, but with added beds it could accommodate 1,682 beds. The largest amount it ever held was 2,000 in a census that was taken in 1940-41. The final cost of the hospital was four million dollars, which was twice the amount that was originally estimated.


The buildings where decorated with beautiful, and expensive Terracotta murals. I have in fact seen them on the old broken down buildings and wondered why no one has taken them down to preserve. A lot of fancy and expensive things in Staten Island where decorated with Terracotta because of the factory on the island at the time. But the story is different for these because they were made by a company in Holland called Joost Thooft & Labouchere. They made the murals using a technique called Sectile. The difference was that each piece of the terracotta was shaped to the lines of the design, instead of the design being divided over a number of tiles. This company was the first and only at the time to do this between the years of 1900 - 1910. This makes these murals very rare and actually, the best sectile work in America. The architect that designed the hospital, Raymond F. Almirall sketched out these murals to add something a little light to the atmosphere. They where extracted from the decaying buildings sometime after 2005 and now hang in the main building.

There is so much to be said about this place that we now see as ruins and haunted by its mental patients, but was it even a mental ward? 

 I can find absolutely no evidence to support the claim that Seaview was ever a mental hospital. I think what gets people confused, is that the Willowbrook State School was very nearby. The school wasn't built for years after Sea View was, but that school was knocked down and Seaview still remains. We pass by it all the time on Brielle Ave. It does look scary so I guess we just assume that it has a violent history, but in fact Sea View was a historical place where many discoveries where made. By the 1960's the medical staff at Sea view was discovering new medicine, they invented something called isoniazids, this was a treatment for TB. With the new medicine the demand for TB beds went down drastically and therefore Sea View in a way put itself out of business. This medicine, along with fresh air cured TB. The hospital was advance, they even had special houses that had ceilings that opened up to let in the fresh air. In whole the campus had 37 buildings. According to Wikipedia this is the list of houses:  Administration Building (1913), Surgical Pavilion (1913), Nurses Residence (1913, addition 1932), Staff House (1913), Power House / Laundry and Ambulance Complex (1912, addition 1935), Kitchen and Dining Hall Group (1912), and Women's Pavilions (1909-1911). Sanatorium additions include the Auditorium or "New Dining Hall" (1917, now known as Colony Hall), Group Building (1917), and Men's and Women's Open Air Pavilions (1917). Later buildings include the Catholic Chapel and Rectory (1928), City Mission Chapel or Chapel of St. Luke the Physician (1934), Pathology Lab (1927-1928), Children's Hospital (1935-1937), Sputum House (1911 / 1932), and Richmond County Isolation Hospital (1928)
Because the hospital was going to go out of business with the cure of TB, the Farm Colony was turned into a 1,400 bed hospital for older patients with aging problems such as Alzheimers. Since then Sea View has stuck with its purpose of being a home and hospital as well as a rehab center for older patients as well as younger ones with brain injuries or other server injuries. If you ever find yourself visiting Sea View, make sure you stop by the museum that is housed right on the site, it takes you on a visual walk though on the history of the place. 

This is only the 1st post I am doing on Sea View, this post is to simply cover the past of the hospital, such as what it really was and what good it actually did for history and TB. The next post I do will be more about the Sea View we see today, the abandoned and presumed haunted Sea view. As well as my own stories, since after all I spent two years going to school there.