Olmsted-Beil House, Staten Island, NY. Photograph by Patricia Salmon. 

Friends of Olmsted-Beil House (FOBH), Staten Island, NY, has received a grant from The Staten Island Foundation to contract with an historical architecture firm to prepare a historic preservation plan and schematic design for the Olmsted-Beil House. Frederick Law Olmsted lived at the farmhouse and its 130-acre property, in the Eltingville area on Staten Island’s south shore, from 1847 to 1855. FOBH is an all-volunteer non-profit group working to garner support for restoration of the house and to protect it in the meantime.  

The farmhouse is a New York City landmark and is listed on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places. It is currently closed to the public while it awaits restoration. The site, currently 1.35 acres, is now a New York City park, Olmsted-Beil House Park. 

The property was the site of many important landscape experiments by Olmsted, including the creation of winding paths and decorative features such as ponds, and planting of trees not native to the Northeast. These explorations would later be incorporated in the design of Central Park and many other Olmsted and Vaux projects. During Olmsted’s time at the property on Staten Island, he also ran a successful farm and tree nursery operation, including growing prize-winning pear trees. 

The independent, private Staten Island Foundation has a mission of improving the quality of life in Staten Island.  

“The Foundation Board congratulates the dedicated volunteers of FOBH,” said the Foundation’s Executive Director, Laura Jean Watters. “We consider this site an important piece of America’s story and are pleased to contribute to restoring this Staten Island jewel.” 

 With the award from The Staten Island Foundation, FOBH has contracted with Connolly & Hickey Historical Architects, of Cranford, NJ, an architecture firm that specializes in the restoration and rehabilitation of historic properties. The firm prepared a scope of work and estimate of probable cost in summer 2023 and has initiated its work to prepare the historic preservation plan and schematic design.  

Thomas B. Connelly, Principal Architect for Connolly & Hickey Historical Architects; Margaret M. Hickey, Principal Historic Preservation Specialist for the firm; and Laura Jean Watters, Executive Director of The Staten Island Foundation. The Foundation has awarded a grant to Friends of Olmsted-Beil House to contract with the Connelly & Hickey firm to prepare an historic preservation plan and schematic design for the house. Photograph by Lance J. Reha.