enter name and hit return
THE OLD STREETS OF NEW YORK
26 September 1876
History in Street Nomenclature-The Changes of Time
The old English names crop out everywhere, and their retention to this day
shows that the old Tory spirit was sufficiently strong in those days to
prevent such radical changes as might have been supposed to spring from the
bitterness of hate or the sweetness of revenge, and of the obiliterating the
names of streets to destroy every unhappy memory connected with them.
Thus we still have Sussex, Essax, Norfolk, Pitt, William, Chatham, King, Prince,
Hanover, and Orange (of late years Baxter), Streets.
Lord Arundel seems to have been unpopuler with the colonists,
for Arundel Street is now known as Charlton.
Still many of the old names of nobilty have been changed.
Vandewater Street was once Duke Street
Cedar Street, between William Street and the East River was Little Queen Street.
Maiden Lane, from Liberty Street Junction to the East River was Crown Street.
James Street has its courtly reminiscences destroyed, for its name was once St. James.
Cherry Street was Queen Street.
Rose Street was formerly Prince Street
The present Street of that name being a later development.
Pine Street was a one time Kings and at another time Queens.
The unwelcome presence of the Kings soldiery was perpetuated in Barrack Street,
afterward Tryon Row, that name itself having of later years disappeared.
STREETS NEWLY CHRISTENED:
The latest change in the name of a street made in our city history was
altering the name of our familiar Park Row to Chatham Street, which was done
by the Board of Aldermen within a few months, but Park Row it will probably
remain on the lips of the present generation.
Besides the changes already noted, in olden time :
William Street- above the Wall was known as King George Street.
Gold Street- from Maiden Lane to John Street, was Rutgers Hill.
Maiden Lane- itself, under the Dutch dynasty, was the maidens path or
walk--suggestive of pleasent twilight rambles by young lovers of that day.
Pine Street- besides being at one time King and at another Queen Street, was
also called Tienhoven, and at another time Bruggin's Street.
Pearl- east of Wall, up to about Beekman Street, was Smith Street.
Oak Street- was Rutgers Street,
Elm Street- was Pitt
Duane- from Elm Street east, was Golden Street
Walker Street- east of Broadway to the Bowery, St. Nicholas,
and west of Broadway, Pump Street
Houston street- was Prospect Street
The Bowery- was called at one time the Kings Highway and at another Boston Post Road.
Cherry Street- was also the Queens Highway.
Greenwich and Washington Streets were laid out as First and Second Streets,
and these together with West and South Streets, have so remarkable a history that
it deserves perperuation.
STREETS OF THE RIVER FRONT
In 1729 it was ordered by the Corporation that two streets should be
laid out on the Hudson, one of 40 feet width at high-water mark,
and the other 30 feet width at low-water mark, to be called First and Second
Streets. It is understood that the ground originally so laid out is now the
site of buildings and other streets, and were only projected, but never built
up. They are mentioned in the early grants, and in a grant to Trinity Church
in November, 1773, the name of Greenwich Street is nearly identical with
high-water mark of 1699.
West and South Streets were laid out by ordinance of April 7, 1795 ,
and Feburary 10, 1796. West Street to be 70 feet wide from Battery Place to
Charlton Street, the outer line being then in the Hudson River, 120 feet west
from the west side of Greenwich Street. An orddinance was passed in 1808
straightening West Street from Harrison to Cortlandt Street, and in 1830 an
act was passed making West street parallel to Washington and moving it 60
feet further into the river. that Washington Street was the river -front at
one time is well established by several maps. By the act of 1796 South Street
was projected, but only built up as far as Fulton Street till 1817.
In 1687 measures were taken to build a new street on the East River
between the present Whitehall Street and the Old Slip, on the present line of
Water Street, and the lots were sold by the Corporation on the condition that
the grantees should make the street and protect their frontage against the
tide by wharves. Lots were to be laid out 80 feet deep up to Coenties Slip,
and thence to Old Slip 95 feet. The southern boundary was generally low water
mark. Subsequently, toward the close of the century, the Corporation sold the
water lots from in front of the City Hall, which then was in Pearl Street,
facing Coenties Slip, to the present Fulton Street. A street was to be made
by the grantees along the river, 35 feet wide. This was the origin of Water
Street in the region. The lots ran back to Pearl Street. The easterly foot of
Fulton Street at the time was Beekman Slip, and in 1817 the ground occupied
by that Slip was taken by the Corporation for the Fulton Market. South Street
was subsequently opened up to its present length.
Chatham Street And The Bowery
The Bowery derives its name from being the road which led to old
Governor Stuyvesant's "Bouwerie" or county seat, which occupied all the
ground in the vicinity of St. Mark's Church. This was simply a country folk
name for it, which we still hold from tradition. This great highway was laid
out first in 1669, 1670, and 1672. Commissioners were ordered to lay out "a
wagon road between New York and Harlem". A road leading across Harlem Bridge
into Westchester County was afterwoods built as a continuation of the wagon
road, and on the Westchester side was known as the Boston Post Road, and
afterwood the whole road north of 23rd. Street was known by that name. Under
the act of June 19, 1703 a public highway was ordered to be built "from the
new site of the city of New York," through Westchester , etc.," to be 4
English rods wide. The commissioners started at the Spring Garden (Broadway,
between Ann and Fulton Streetss) to"Freshwater," about at the junction of
Pearl and Chatham Streets. Another road like the branch of a Y, coming up
from Franklin Square there met it. This first road was the present Chatham
Street, to which its name was changed in 1774, in compliment to the great
Earl, the champion of American liberties, whose name is also commemmorated in
Pitt Street. From the junction on the Boston Post Road had been a public
highway as early as 1659.
The "Freshwater" was a brook leading from the Kalk Hook, or Collect
Pond, on Centre Street, covering the site of the present tombs, to the East River.
Transcribed by Anna Heller-Campbell
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