odds & ends; The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum

Antonio Meucci, rarely mentioned in history books, is considered to be the true inventor of the telephone.  Meucci filed for a preliminary patent application for his ”teletrofono” in 1871 but was hampered by a lack of funds and command of the  English language.  Alexander Graham Bell went on to successfully patented his version of the telephone in 1876.

After being forced to flee Italy in 1850, Giuseppe Garibaldi sought refuge with his friends, the Meucci family, on Staten Island.  He returned to Italy in 1854 and became an international hero for his role in the fight for the independence and unity of Italy.

Garibaldi 1861

The Gothic-revival style Meucci house was built in the 1840s.

19th century drawing

After Garibaldi died in 1882, a marble plaque was installed over the front door to commemorate his time in Staten Island.

In 1907, on the centennial of Garibaldi’s birth, the house was moved two blocks to its present location where a pantheon was erected over it by the Garibaldi Society. The columned dome was stucco and wood and sat on a concrete base, making it one of the oddest architectural structures in New York City.

berenice abbott 1937

In 1956 the National Order Sons of Italy, which had controlled the memorial since 1919, demolished the decrepit pantheon, filled the restored house with artifacts from Meucci and Garibaldi, and opened the house as a museum.

original front, now rear, of the house

candle furnace in the backyard


About Denise P. Puchol

Always carrying a pocket camera to photograph random spots throughout the five boroughs of New York City and to share a little of the history.
This entry was posted in photographs of historic building and sites in the five boroughs of New York City and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to odds & ends; The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum

  1. Brian says:

    This was fascinating. My job last summer also brought me to Staten Island a lot, but I never came across this house. Now I’ll have to go looking for it!

    • Hi Brian,
      Yea, it’s a little off the beaten track on Tompkins Ave, on old area of S.I. that hasn’t been well preserved — but the house is worth a look for Meucci’s artifacts & largely unknown story — unfortunately I had camera issues so only got these few photos.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s