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.
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.