St. Peter's German Evangelical, 1940

Charleston is located along the southwestern shore of Staten Island. With seven New York City Designated Landmarks within one square mile, it can easily be classified as a historic community. 

Prior to the mid-19th century, the area was known as Androvetteville or Androvettetown. The Androvette family came to Staten Island around 1699.  During the 1700's, they settled in Charleston and engaged in farming. Later, the family name would also become associated with the maritime industry.  Around 1850, eight of the 29 structures in the village were owned and occupied by members of the Androvette family.

Many people today remember when Charleston was called Kreischerville. Balthasar Kreischer (1813-1886), a Bavarian immigrant, opened a brick manufactory along the waterfront in 1854. The clay there was ideal for his bricks. He later erected a mansion on a hill overlooking his company town, a 26-room Italianate style house. His estate was called Fairview. Later, his sons Edward and Charles built mirror-image houses nearby. Charles’s house, located at 4500 Arthur Kill Rd., still stands today. It is presserved as a NYC designated landmark and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Kreischer’s business and the town he helped develop flourished. He built housing for his workers and a house of worship nearby. The church, originally named St. Peter's German Evangelical Church of Kreischerville, remains standing and is known as the Free Magyar(Hungarian) Reformed Church. It is located on Winant Place. It was designated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1994  In 1886, just three years after the church was dedicated, Balthasar Kreischer died.  His funeral took place in his beloved church. He is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn.

The name of the village post office was changed from Kreischerville to Charleston during World War I because of anti-German sentiment.  Charleston remains one of the most remote and sparsely populated areas on Staten Island. The community is also home to the Clay Pit Pond State Park Preserve. In 2005 Sharrotts Road Shorelands and Port Mobile Swamp Forest and Tidal Wetlands, a 25 acre parcel, was nominated by The Trust for Public Land for open space preservation.  

In 2005, the development of the lands once occupied by the Kreischer Brick Works began. The Tides at Charleston, a 190-unit senior housing complex, became the first age-restricted residential development within the five boroughs of NYC.

The Charleston Bus Annex officially opened at 4700 Arthur Kill Rd. on January 9, 2011.   The $110 million facility includes an 87,000 sq. ft. building to service and maintain over 220 buses. 

For more information about the community's history,  look for our new book,  Know That They Thrived Here, The History of Charleston (Kreischerville). It will be released in August 2019 and available through our online Gift Shop.