For an enterprising real estate investor—or someone who likes really freaking creepy homes—this newly listed Staten Island house might be a gem. It’s no ordinary home, you see; it’s the Kreischer Mansion, one of the island’s most notorious properties.
The house was originally built in the late 19th century by Balthasar Kreischer, a German-born immigrant and brick-maker who went on to create one of New York City’s first company towns, known as—of course—Kreischerville. He was responsible for building a small spattering of workers’ houses that were built in the 1870s complement the family’s manufacturing facilities, along with other services—shops, churches—to serve the growing community. (One of those, the the Free Magyar Reformed Church, is a NYC landmark that stands today.)
But this house at 4500 Arthur Kill Road was not part of that community; Kreischer built it, and an exact copy further south, for his sons Edward and Charles. And here’s where the story gets creepy, per a previous Curbed piece:
Edward himself didn't last long: He committed suicide by gunshot in [his] house in 1894. The second mansion burned down in the 1930s, and the property was plagued by tales of haunting throughout the 20th century. Things got even more grisly in 2005, when the property's caretaker, who also happened to be a hitman for the mob, murdered Mafioso Robert McKelvey in the mansion and burned his body in the basement.
Yikes. Legend has it that Edward, who once occupied this home, is the one doing the haunting; but even without a ghost in residence, it’s got that spooky Victorian look down pat. (The AIA Guide to New York City describes the mansion, which was built in the Stick Style, as “hysterical” with a “rocketship turret.”)
The listing, of course, doesn’t mention that not-so-charming past; it does, however, note that the 1.25-acre lot it’s sitting on “has ‘endless possibilities’ and income-generating potential.” (The lot has been approved for redevelopment, with the house intact.)
As for the particulars, the home has a whopping seven bedrooms, three bathrooms, myriad formal spaces (dining rooms and parlors and the like), and—again, per the listing—many of its original decorative details “from the beautiful chandeliers to the eccentric wall paper and stunning Victorian details in every corner.” Granted, the interiors need a lot of work—the home has been used for events and was previously a restaurant, so it’ll take some time to get it back to habitable status.
And yes, you can put a price on owning a piece of Staten Island history: The mansion is asking $2 million, with monthly taxes running $1,233. Is it worth the price, especially when it may come with a ghost in-house? We’ll let you be the judge.