Photo of the Week: The Matron’s House, Staten Island, NY

This week’s photo, like last week’s photo, comes from Snug Harbor on Staten Island, New York. Rumored to be the most haunted building on the grounds of Snug Harbor, the Matron’s House even attracted the team from TAPS as they filmed their Ghost Hunters episode “Murdered Matron” at Snug harbor, and the episode got its name from this building.

The Matron’s House (or Matron’s Cottage, as it is also called) sits on the grounds of Sailor’s Snug Harbor, located on the North Shore of Staten Island, NY. Founded in 1801 by Captain Robert Randall, it was built as an institution to care for “aged, decrepit and worn-out” seamen. It opened in 1833 and was the first home for retired merchant seamen in the history of the United States. The Matron’s Cottage was where the female staff for Snug Harbor lived. These women did the laundry, cooked meals and provided other day to day services for the men who lived at Snug Harbor. The woman in charge of these female staff members was called the Matron, hence the name of the cottage today.

Rumor has it that the Matron ran a very strict household for her female staff members, and would not tolerate any fraternizing between the women she supervised and the sailors. But, legend has it, she broke her own rule and had an affair with a man living on the grounds, possibly in what is now known as Cottage B, and had an illegitimate son. This being the late 1800s, she needed to keep this secret, and supposedly kept her son in the basement, in chains, until he was 13. At some point when he was 13, he supposedly escaped and killed her, and tried to hide in the woods behind Snug Harbor. He was found by members of the Snug Harbor community and reportedly hanged on a tree behind the Matron’s House (the tree was recently removed due to storm damage).

Rangers and employees of Snug Harbor have reported many unusual things in this house, from doors constantly unlocking by themselves, to objects in the building moving from where they were last placed, and even chains rattling in the basement.

This photo shows our team, the New York Paranormal Society, investigating the first floor of the Matron’s House back in 2010, and the grounds of Snug harbor can be seen through the window. We captured some interesting evidence, footsteps on the stairs, and you can see the video here.

The Matron's House, Snug harbor in Staten island, NY

All photos in our Photo of the Week feature are taken by New York Paranormal Society team member Laura Pennace, who is a New York City wedding photographer specializing in city hall and courthouse weddings, as well as engagement and proposal shoots. You can see more of Laura’s work at Pennace Photography (

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