Landmark St John Villa Academy

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In New York City, an individual landmark building must have “a special character or special historical aesthetic interest or value as part of the development, heritage or cultural characteristics of the city, state, or nation.” What better representation of our borough, than St. John Villa Academy? The Sisters of Saint John the Baptist purchased Clair Manor from the Townsend Estate in 1922, which still serves as a convent. Soon after, the elementary school (1931) and the chapel (1937) were added. Nestled on a hill overlooking the Verrazano Bridge, these structures boast stunning brickwork and stained glass that can never be duplicated. Part of the skyline of Staten Island, the cross that sits atop the Elementary school is the first glimpse visitors receive of Staten Island when they cross the Verrazano Bridge. For almost 100 years, this fixture in our skyline has represented all that the Sisters of Saint John the Baptist and all that New York City stands for- justice and peace for a better future for humanity. The thousands of students who have passed through these doors can attest for that. 

To our dismay, our community has found out that after almost 100 years of academic and religious service, the school will be closing. While we still fight for the school to remain open, we ask that at least the buildings that have housed so many in the community who stand for so much good become landmarked. The sheer thought of them being torn down brings a horrible sadness across Staten Island. 

Those who have signed this petition believe the historical value, aesthetic interest, and the developmental role St. John Villa has played on Staten Island is unmatched- and certainly worth saving.

With so much chaos and injustice in the world, our community asks the city to please leave a historic beacon of hope and faith in humanity standing in our community. 

Please join us in saving, preserving, and LANDMARKING St. John Villa Academy school, Convent, and chapel. 

Thank you.



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