This 1875 structure was erected by Charles E. Griffith, who opened a boot and shoe store on the ground floor. Having seen several different uses over the years — here's a photo of an old pool hall, complete with spittoons, that was once located on the second floor — the building currently serves as a senior housing facility.
The plaque to the left of the door, visible above, reads:
ON THIS SITE STOOD THEThat's not quite correct, however. The St. James Hotel actually stood next door, just to the east on Richmond Terrace. It was originally a private mansion, supposedly considered "the finest house on Staten Island", and it was built on the former site of a small British Revolutionary War fort, which itself had replaced a house, belonging to an "obnoxious" loyalist, that was destroyed by the Americans. As far as I can tell, the place was known as the Port Richmond Hotel, or Winant's Inn, at the time that the elderly former vice president and killer of Alexander Hamilton (Dick Cheney wasn't the first veep to shoot a man while in office) was living out his last months there.
ST. JAMES HOTEL
BUILT SHORTLY AFTER
THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.
AARON BURR DIED HERE
SEPTEMBER 14, 1836
ORIGINALLY MARKED BY
STATEN ISLAND CHAPTER NSDAR
FEBRUARY 1932 REPLACED SEPTEMBER 1976
Here's a watercolor painting of the inn as it would have looked during its time as the Continental Hotel (it went by a number of different names over the years) in the mid-1800s. And here's a view of Richmond Terrace, probably from the early 20th century; you can see the inn, then named Danner's, standing just past the Griffith Building, which at that point was the Schlitz Hotel.
I was wondering if Schlitz hotel was the same people as the beer company. The photo answered my question. I remember some relatives drank Schlitz beer when I was kid, and their slogan, “Schlitz, one beautiful beer!”