This Greek Revival structure lies on the South Shore of the island, located at 441 Seguine Avenue. The home received its name from James Seguine who purchased the land which the mansion sits on between 1780 and 1786. Seguine Avenue and Seguine Point in Princes Bay were also named after this family's ancestors which first settled on Staten Island in 1706.
History Behind The Seguine Mansion
The Seguine Mansion was first built around 1840 by James Seguine's Grandson, Joseph Seguine. Joseph not only operated the family's prosperous oyster-harvesting business, but he also founded the Staten Island Oil and Candle-making Company, and owned extensive farmland. Even after Joseph's death, the house remained in the family until 1868 when financial difficulties forced the family to sell the property just after the Civil War. Apparently, in the late 19th century the mansion was used as in inn or hotel, considering Prince's Bay evolution into a popular resort area. Following this, descendants of the Seguine family repurchased the house in 1916. Unfortunately as the family gradually moved away, the house slowly fell apart, with slate tiles that shifted and leaked, causing severe water damage and partial collapse of the roof. The walls also eventually began to split and separate from each other. At the end of a long search, the last Seguine to live in the home, Elizabeth "Bess" Seguine, sold the house to George Burke. Burke had previous experience restoring other historic buildings, and after 5 years of hard work to restore the home, Burke ensured the property wouldn't be subdivided and even established an equestrian center there. He officially donated the Seguine Mansion to the City of New York in 1989.
The House and Grounds
According to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, this beautiful home is very "reminiscent of antebellum mansions of the Deep South." The exterior alone is breathtaking, with a gorgeous water view and six monumental square columns which support the second floor gallery. This extravagant eighteen-room mansion features a verandah, entry foyer, front parlor, rear parlor, dining room and library on the first floor, as well as private rooms on the second floor. Consistent with the Greek Revival emphasis on symmetry, each of the eight main rooms has three windows, three doors, and a fireplace. In fact, there are nine working fireplaces throughout the house considering the house was built before central heating.
The grounds surrounding the Seguine mansion have been left in a natural state, providing a very scenic view. The park has freshwater wetlands, tidal wetlands, a marina, and a picnic area. Within these areas are a plethora of wildlife ranging from Osage orange trees, also known as "hedge apples", to colorful peacocks and various birds and animals. Aforementioned, George Burke established an equestrian center, which is located on the 10 acres surrounding the Mansion. It offers riding lessons for kids, ages 5-16, and adults by the hour and half hour, as well as boarding for horses. These classes are available after school, on the weekends, or even during a two-week camp in the summer.
This stunning home gives us a little glimpse of Staten Island's living history, a tradition of standing strong, no matter how much time passes. Stay tuned to our website tomcrimminsrealty.com to see the multitude of other historical landmark homes located throughout Staten Island.