Our History

So the Story Goes

W.T. Garner was the owner of the Garner Mansion, what we refer to as the Villa Building.On July 20, 1876, Mr. Garner, who was the Commodore of the New York Yacht Club and a wealthy cotton merchant, lost his life along with his wife and crew. They had gone out ontheir yacht, when it capsized in a squall during her maiden voyage in the New York Harbor.The yacht, built in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and named the Mohawk was later raised and renamed the USS Eagre, serving the United States Navy (pictured left).

United States President, General Ulysses S.Grant had just completed his presidency and visited Staten Island with the thought of accepting a gift of the Garner Mansion in West New Brighton. Except for the swarms of mosquitoes that inhabited Staten Island, the prominent American would have become an Island resident, so the story goes. The dwelling which Mr. and Mrs. Grant anticipated occupying was the building which had been erected by a prominent New York businessman, Charles Taber, and was the home of W.T. Garner.After Mr. Garner’s death, the house was selected by a committee as the people’s gift to General Grant.

On a magnificent day in June, General Grant (pictured right) was brought to tour the property. The day was ideal and he expressed himself as delighted, all that was needed was the approval of Mrs. Grant. But the time selected for her visit proved to be just the reverse. The day was hot and muggy and the property filled with mosquitoes.

The visit could not be postponed, so a pair of horses quickly took Mrs. Grant across the property but when still by the mansion, the story goes the mosquitoes were too much and the generous offer was declined.

The property was bequeathed to the Sisters of Charity.

The Hospital's History

The hospital's establishment predates the opening of Borough Hall by one year and the city's assumption of ferry service in 1905. The hospital was originally located in the W.T. Garner mansion, a pre-Civil War estate that was bequeathed to the Sisters of Charity when its owner, Mr.Garner and his wife died. The hospital began as a 74-bed facility in 1903 in the former mansions, founded by the members of the Sisters of Charity of New York from St.Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan. They used the hospital for tuberculosis patients; however it quickly assumed the role ofa community hospital and in 1906 became a separately incorporated facility. Now, known as the Villa Building, it houses the hospital’s departments of Administration, Information Technology, Purchase Services, Medicine, Surgery, and Human Resources.

The 1929, a six story, 200 bed hospital was built, which was the main hospital building at that time. In 1961, the 98-bed Francis Cardinal Spellman Pavilion opened, followed by the St. Elizabeth Seton Pavilion in 1979, which provided accommodations for Surgery, Operating Room Suites,Cardiology, Critical Care, Emergency and Ambulatory Care, as well as Support Services. The Seton Wing also housed the Joseph Onorato Cardiac Catheterization Lab,opening in 1979 as the first on the Island. In 1981, the Sisters of Charity Healthcare System expanded to acquire the former U.S. Public Health Service Hospital in the Stapleton neighborhood of Staten Island, renaming it Bayley Seton Hospital after New York's Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, and her father Richard Bayley, an American born British Army Revolutionary War surgeon and founder of the New York Dispensary. The hospital then added the Terence Cardinal Cooke Pavilion in 1983 for its behavioral health services. The most noteworthy addition came in 1989 when the Sister Loretto Bernard Pavilion opened. Most people know this as the main entrance to the hospital, but it also houses the hospital's new Ambulatory Care Center and GI/Endoscopy Suites, the Sipp Auditorium,Labor & Delivery Unit, Maternity, Pediatric, Medical, Surgical, Telemetry, and Oncology Services.

In 1999 Saint Vincent's Catholic Medical Center of Manhattan,originally a separate institution founded by the same sisters, took control of the facility as part of a major restructuring of the overall community of Catholic healthcare facilities in New York. After years of transformation, Richmond University Medical Center was formed in 2007. Throughout these changes, the hospital has retained the values established by the Sisters of Charity to provide quality health care in a compassionate and caring manner and to care for all the residents of its community, making Richmond University Medical Center a testament to this enduring philosophy.

The Early Days