by Christina Parrella, 10/16/2012
Courtesy, The Conference House Museum
The Conference House Museum
298 Satterlee St., 718-984-6046, Tottenville, Staten Island
On September 11, 1776, British and American representatives met at the Staten Island Peace Conference. Their daunting task? Negotiate a peaceful settlement to end the American Revolutionary War. British Admiral Richard Howe, who had limited authority from King George, and three members of the Second Continental Congress—Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Edward Rutledge—traveled to this two-story stone manor on the southernmost point of Staten Island for what turned out to be a contentious three-hour talk. Howe, backed by the most powerful naval fleet in the world, thought the Crown had the upper hand. But Franklin, Adams and Rutledge refused to compromise on American independence, and the war continued for another seven years. Although the meeting was a failure, the Conference House Museum provides a valuable look into Staten Island's role in US history. The museum is situated on a 265-acre park, which contains three other historic buildings: Biddle House, Ward House and Rutan-Beckett House. You can see the room where the negotiation took place Friday through Sunday, 1 to 4pm, from April to mid-December.