A captain in the Royal Navy, Billopp built this House around 1680 as the center of his 1,600-acre Manor of Bentley. The sophisticated, two-story fieldstone House was markedly different in both style and scale from the scattered Dutch and English farmhouses of Staten Island with its high, gabled end walls containing fireplaces and chimney stacks. The House had two large parlors opening off a central hall on the main floor, and two bedchambers on the floor above.
Like his great-grandfather, Colonel Christopher Billopp—who inherited the property in 1750—served in the British armed forces and was a member of the provincial government. During the Revolutionary War, Billopp remained loyal to King George III and in 1776 his house was requisitioned for the enormous British army billeted on Staten Island.
On September 11, 1776, John Adams, Edward Rutledge, and Benjamin Franklin, representing the Continental Congress, and Admiral Lord Richard Howe, representing the King’s government, met at the Billopp House. The group discussed options for a peaceful cessation of hostilities but no agreement was reached, and the fighting continued for another seven years.
The House opened as a museum in 1927. Today, it has been restored to its mid-18th-century appearance. Education programs and special events at the house focus on the Billopp family and the Revolutionary War conference that made the House famous.
The Conference House is owned by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, operated by the Conference House Association, and is a member of the Historic House Trust.
Watch a video about Conference House.
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