The Conference House on Staten Island

Conference House

The Conference House on Staten Island.

Morgan History – The Conference House on Staten Island

After an aborted attempt last year to visit it in August 2011 after the Morgan Tour Day due to Hurricane Irene, in August 2012 my friend Ken and I were able to go to historic Conference House at the south west side of Staten Island.  As was discussed in the other page, the building now known as “The Conference House” was the site where Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Edward Rutledge met on September 11, 1776 with Admiral Lord Richard Howe to see if there was a way to end the American Revolutionary War.

Conference House Meeting Room

The Conference House Meeting Room Where Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Edward Rutledge Met With Admiral Lord Richard Howe.

Ken and I lucked out in that the day we visited was a day that the building was not only open but a tour was just about to begin!  The room I was most interested in seeing was the one where the meeting occurred, the one portrayed in the Alonzo Chappel illustration of the meeting (you can see the illustration on The Conference House page).  This room is to the left (north side) as you enter the door facing Perth Amboy, the city from which the American contingent crossed the Arthur Kill on a barge provided by Admiral Howe.  I was really expecting the room to have been on the south or east sides due to the portrayal of ships and water outside the window of the Chappel illustration.  Low and behold, in this case the artist relied heavily on his artistic license as the actual window faced north and there is no way that a ship could have been out the window!

From the beach right outside of The Conference House where Franklin, Adams and Rutledge first set foot on Staten Island, Ken and I were able to look across the Arthur Kill at Perth Amboy, South Amboy and the site of my childhood home in Morgan.  So close yet I had never heard of The Conference House until a few years ago.  Pathetic!

Every year the Conference House Association celebrates this historic, albeit failed, meeting with tours, activities and especially a re-enactment of the meeting.  Checkout www.conferencehouse.org for more information.

Originally posted on September 5, 2012.

One thought on “The Conference House on Staten Island

  1. William J. Stasse

    My Mother (Margaret Christine Orinski-Stasse Born 1933) grew up on Staten Island a short distance from the Conference House located on Loretta Street. I lived in Sayreville & remember her bringing me to visit The Conference House from an age of about 5 years old & several times afterwards. I developed a spiritual attatchment (possibly an over active childhood immagination) to the building which she encouraged with her knowledge of it’s history. I was told of a tunnel that was constructed from the basement of The Conference House (of which I did indeed see the blocked entrance) under the Raritan River to Perth Amboy’s Saint Peter’s Church basement. The tunnel was used as an excape route during the Revolutionary War and later served it’s part in the “Underground Railroad” directing fleeing slaves to New York. I attended a wedding at Saint Peter’s (November 2014) and I mentioned the story of the tunnel to an elder of the church who graciously showed me the blocked entry to the tunnel after the wedding service concluded. It was as if my childhood immagination was resurrected including the chills that ran up my spine!

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