Arthur Kill Road abruptly veers to the right at Kreischer Street and splits into a maze of dead ends that are surrounded by marshes and woodlands. The path curves towards Charleston, Staten Island, a practical industrial area prone to irrational outbursts. Stalls and shooting ranges coexist in this area with ghostly houses and sunken ships. Gothic horror and the Wild West coexist together.
One family name—Kreischer—stands out among the others on gravestones and street names in this area of the borough. It is engraved into the walls of the neighbourhood bar, imprinted into the sidewalks and inscribed on the very foundations of the oldest buildings. due to the fact that the town was constructed with, for, and by Kreisher bricks. And Kreischerville existed before Charleston.
Pictured in the late 19th century is the Kreischer Fire-Brick Works.
Balthasar Kreischer, who was raised in a tiny Bavarian hamlet, moved to New York City in 1836, a year after a devastating fire destroyed most of Lower Manhattan. He found work swiftly repairing the damaged neighbourhood, with a focus on the creation of baker’s ovens. In 1845, he established a brickworks on the Lower East Side with a business partner. His “fire clay,” a unique kind of raw material, was needed to make the fire-proof bricks, which were designed to endure high temperatures in chimneys and furnaces. He moved his firm to be near the source when large clay resources were found on southwest Staten Island in the 1850s.
The new site was in a remote area of the borough known as Androvetteville, named after a well-known local family. In order to develop his business, Balthasar acquired the shoreline and clay mines. Within a few decades, the tranquil settlement of oystermen and seafarers transformed into an industrial boomtown that produced 20,000 bricks each day. Kreischerville became the name of the area as the brickworks flourished.
A row of worker’s homes stands abandoned at New York City’s Arthur Kill Road in the image kreischer-mansion_abandoned-nyc_arthur-kill-4.
s a paternalistic boss, Kreischer gave his employees accommodation and financial support when they were ill or through financial hardship. He wanted his staff to preserve appearances by keeping their homes and yards clean for the sake of everyone. Today, four of the original workers’ homes that were recognised as New York City monuments in 1994 are still intact. Some of them seem abandoned, with rusted-out vehicles from the past sitting in the driveway. Right down to the pavements, the setting seems glaringly out of date. Over a century ago, Kreischer bricks were used to pave them.
Kreischer handed over management of the business to his three sons when he retired in 1878. A third brother assumed control of the organization’s Manhattan headquarters while Edward and Charles remained on Staten Island. Prior to his passing in 1886, Balthasar commissioned a pair of mirror-image Victorian palaces on a hilltop above the factory as homes for Charles and Edward. He also gave the town a new church building, which is still standing. Today, only Charles’ home is still standing; in the 1930s, a fire destroyed Edward’s.
Balthasar gave the church to the neighbourhood as a gift before he passed away.
In 1894, Edward himself had a terrible end when he was discovered dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound not far from the plant. In the eyes of the general public, his brother George was baffled by Edward’s choice. However, the deceased’s acquaintances provided a different account that implied conflict between the two brothers. The corporation was first split evenly among Balthasar’s five children after his passing, but Charles swiftly acted to take over control of the organisation by buying the shares of his two sisters.
Another issue could have been Kreischer and Sons’ declining profits. The plant closed in 1906 after being foreclosed upon and sold in 1899. (Many employees were hired by the adjacent Atlantic Terra Cotta Works, which was covered in an earlier piece.) “Kreischerville” eventually took on the name “Charleston” in reaction to anti-German prejudice during World War I. Old clay quarries were gradually reclaimed by nature, producing the little ponds that gave Clay Pit Ponds State Park its name. On Kreischer Hill, Kreischer House kept watch, and in 1968 it was designated a landmark of New York City.
Today, there is only one remaining Kreischer Mansion. An arsonist set fire to Edward’s (on the left).
The home eventually became into the “haunted mansion” it was always supposed to be as the structure aged and time passed since Edward’s tragic death. But it wasn’t until 2005 that it really became ingrained in people’s minds. In that year, Kreischer Mansion rose to fame as the scene of a true horror tale involving a brutal mob murder committed by none other than the home’s keeper.
The individual received $8000 to kill a Bannano criminal family member who had come into conflict with the gang in a Sopranos-style killing. The gory facts were covered by The New York Times in 2006: “The victim was enticed to a remote location, a Victorian estate on a Staten Island mountaintop, but he was difficult to murder. He was stabbed after an unsuccessful attempt to choke him, then carried to a nearby pond where he drowned. Hacksaws were used to cut apart his corpse, and the furnace of the mansion was used to burn him to death.
The drowning happened in a little reflecting pool in front of the house that was paved with yellow Kreischer bricks, not in a pond.
The owner of the estate carried on with the repairs that were already in progress at the time of the murder, unaware of the tragedy. The furnace had been changed by the time the F.B.I. learned of the murder and went to examine the estate for clues. The house was to serve as the focal point of “Kreischerville,” an ageing community being built by the Ohio-based developer. However, the plans were abandoned in 2012, leading to the property being listed for $11.5 million, with the home making up $1.6 million of that sum. For $12 million, the 5-acre property is now again on the market.
For the time being, the home is vacant as eerie tales about Edward’s sad wife circulate nearby, despite the fact that she never really resided in the building. The house seems to be beginning to accept its notoriety. In 2015, it welcomed guests for an interactive theatre production on Halloween night. The property concluded the first season of the paranormal investigation programme “Paranormal Lockdown” last year. Though the allegations are shaky, they are ultimately harmless. After all, a scandalous past is a history that is remembered. One of Staten Island’s most intriguing ties to its 19th-century history, Kreischer Mansion may continue to exist for another 100 years or more.