New York Daily Photo Analytics

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Grisly Business

Gino Galestro, a member of the Bonanno crime family, ordered Rober McKelvey to be killed. McKelvey had committed crimes with the family but also angered Galestro and owed him money. Former marine Joseph Young was to make the hit, but things did not go well. From the New York Times, 2006:

The victim was lured to a secluded landmark, a Victorian mansion on a hilltop on Staten Island, but he proved hard to kill. When an effort to strangle him failed, he was stabbed, then dragged to a nearby pond and drowned. His body was dismembered with hacksaws and incinerated in the mansion's furnace.

Since that time, all manner of ghostly and poltergeist phenomena have been claimed (and some prior to that murder, where legend has it that a cook killed himself in the kitchen).
The mansion was built in 1885 as an estate home by New York City brick manufacturer Balthazar Kreischer, a Bavarian immigrant. Two other homes like it were built for his two sons, Charles and Edward, who were partners in the company B. Kreischer & Sons. Only one home remains, shown in the photo and located at 4500 Arthur Kill Road, Staten Island.
The area, settled by the Androvette family in 1699, was originally known as Androvetteville in the 1700s. It then became known as Kreisherville, a factory town built by Kreischer, who had been attracted by the natural clay deposits in the region*. From the New York Times:

At the height of its operation in the late 1890's, B. Kreischer & Sons employed more than 300 workers and turned out more than three million bricks yearly. Kreischer brick, which continued to be produced until the 1930's, was used on major building projects throughout New York. Kreischer decorative terra cotta was used in the building of Barnard College around 1900.

The brick factory was built in 1854, destroyed by fire in 1877, rebuilt, and finally closed in 1927. Kreischer brickwork can be seen in neighborhoods as far away as Ridgewood and Astoria, Queens.
With the anti-German sentiment after WWI, the town name was changed to Charleston after Kreischer's son, Charles. In 1996, the home was a restaurant. Currently vacant, there are plans to build a 120-unit senior citizen housing near Kreischer Mansion, which may be used as a center. I hope we are finished with all the grisly business...

*The 260-acre Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve is located on the site that once provided the white kaolin clay in the 19th century for the manufacture of bricks and terra cotta.


Oakland Daily Photo said...

Yikes, you mean Mario Puzo got it right?

Brian Dubé said...


Daniela said...

It looks a lot like Mark Twain's house in Hartford, CT.

Steffe said...

Fascinating story.

Penguin Five said...

Lovely house and great story to go with it!