Bay Villa

Hamilton Avenue, New Brighton, Staten Island, New York

Built circa 1862, for John M. Pendleton (1835-1900) and his first wife, Elizabeth Conklin (d.1875). It was purchased in 1868 by Anson Phelps Stokes (1838-1913) who came here with his family for nearly every spring and autumn up until 1886. The estate of several acres stood on a slight eminence between St. Mark's Place and Hamilton Avenue and the house enjoyed a direct view over the harbor and the bay towards New Jersey. But, by the 1880s the Stokes felt the island had become over-crowded with day-trippers and he recalled that, "a number of our friends had left Staten Island, and there appear indications that we might want to give up our country home there (too)"....

This house is best associated with...

John M. Pendleton

John M. Pendleton, Merchant, of New Brighton, Staten Island, New York


Elizabeth (Conklin) Pendleton

Mrs Elizabeth (Conklin) Pendleton


Anson Phelps Stokes

Anson P. Stokes, Merchant Banker, of Phelps, Stokes & Co., New York


Helen (Phelps) Stokes

Mrs Helen Louisa (Phelps) Stokes


John M. Pendleton's father, William, is credited along with his brother as a pioneer of lithography in the United States. William moved from Boston to Staten Island in about 1845 where he invested in real estate and built several houses which perhaps included this one too as a wedding present for John who married his first wife in 1862.

Anson Phelps Stokes usually vacationed with his family at Clifton Cottage on his grandfather's estate, the Coster-Phelps Mansion. But in 1868, he recalled: "After driving around a great deal on Long Island, in Westchester County and New Jersey, and on Staten Island, we decided to hire the John M. Pendleton place on Staten Island as a country place for the following season... we liked the place so much that, after occupying it for a few months, we bought it". In 1872, Stokes bought the adjoining property from John's father.

In 1880, the Stokes celebrated their 15-year wedding anniversary here by throwing a garden party for 750-guests that contemporary reports declared would be, "long remembered by those who had the pleasure in participating in it". Guests arrived from 3 o'clock in the afternoon and entertained themselves with lawn tennis, croquet, and archery. A large marquee was erected next to the house with a dance floor and room for a full orchestra; the supper of 16-courses was described as, "a marvel of culinary art"; and, in the evening a firework display on the front lawn lit up the sky as well as Mr Stokes' yacht which was festooned in bunting and fired a salute in honor of the hosts.

The yacht referred to was the Nereid, the first yacht owned by Anson Stokes and what he described as, "something of a freak boat". Its double hulls were built in the bowling alley here at Bay View in 1877. But, by 1886 the Stokes family had stopped coming here and by 1889 they had bought The Homestead in Lenox, Massachusetts.

Concerning the land Stokes had purchased from William S. Pendleton back in 1872, he wrote, "later, when we had ceased living there, I built eighteen houses on the pasture-lots and gardens, and sold the most north-easterly house. After we gave up living part of the year there, I sold, 24th December, 1892, the large house etc." It would appear that the new owner was the famously miserly and unpleasant John G. Wendel who forbade his sisters from mixing with society lest they marry and the family fortune should be be broken up. 

By 1928, the house was vacant and in a poor state of repair. Two years later (1930) it was demolished and today only Phelps Place off Hamilton Avenue (where the gatehouse to the estate once stood) reminds us of "Bay Villa" and Staten Island's Gilded past. 

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Contributed by Mark Meredith on 28/08/2021 and last updated on 29/08/2021.
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