3. Actor’s Home, New Brighton
This Elizabethean-style mansion on Clove Road near Clove Lakes Park and Martlings Pond was originally built for Civil War hero Col. Richard Penn Smith, but in the early 20th century it was inhabited by dozens of retired vaudeville stars. At the behest of 19th-century actor Joseph Jefferson who had been a guest of the Colonel’s, the Actor’s Fund of America purchased the Colonel’s mansion and in 1902 opened The West Brighton Actor’s Home. The home was for retired vaudeville performers once their careers on stage had ended. The mansion stood on 14 acres of Smith’s 20-acre estate.
Inside, the house was furnished by R.H. Macy. One the ground floor there were salons, a dining hall, a billiard room, and a parlor. On the upper floors, there were nearly 50 bedrooms and dozens of bathrooms. In 1928, the Actor’s Home was relocated to a larger residence in Englewood, New Jersey donated by millionaire businesswoman Hetty Green. The New Brighton House stood for a decade longer but was demolished in 1938. Today, the site of the lost Staten Island mansion is occupied by St. Peter’s Cemetery and the parking lot for the Staten Island Zoo.