2. Bay Villa, New Brighton

Bay Villa, the lost Stokes mansion on Staten Island
Image via Rare Books in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries

The elaborate Second Empire mansion at Bay Villa was built around 1862 for John M. Pendleton. It was one of three large estates built around the same time atop the hill that rises between St. Mark’s Place and Hamilton Avenue. The mansion stood on just over five acres of land and was accompanied by a carriage house, gardener’s lodge, and gatehouse. While scouting for a country retreat, wealthy merchant banker Anson Phelps Stokes spotted the property. His family initially rented the mansion. They quickly fell in love with the property and he purchased the home in 1868. The family would return every spring and fall season until 1886.

By the 1880s, Staten Island had become too crowded for the Stokes. Their estate was near the ferry dock where crowds of people would disembark on their way to Staten Island’s amusement parks at St. George and Erastina. Like many of their wealthy friends, the Stokes left Staten Island for a quieter retreat on Long Island and in the Berkshires. The Bay Villa estate was split into individual lots and sold for development. The cul-de-sac of present-day Phelps Place was part of Stokes’ development, and houses built there in the 1890s are now part of the St. George Historic District. The main house was sold in 1892. By the late 1920s, it had fallen into disrepair and was demolished in 1930.