D.T. Valentine's History of Broadway Pre: 1865 Part II

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Broadway, From Wall Street to the Park Pages: 524-544

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North of Fulton street, on the west side of Broadway, lay the Trinity Church farm, which was laid off into lots about 1760; and the front extending between Fulton (then Partition) street and Vesey street (so called in honor of a former pastor of Trinity), was devoted to the erection of an elegant church, which was completed about the year 1765, and called St. Paul's which still remains among the oldest memorials of the architecture of that day.

In reviewing the progress of improvements of the section of Broadway between Wall street and the Park, the principal incident of a public character was the erection of a market in the centre of the street opposite Liberty (then Crown) street. This edifice was built in 1738, its dimensions being one hundred and fifty-six feet in length, and twenty feet three and a half inches in width. It remained about thirty-three years, and gave a character to the neighborhood very prejudicial to the beauty and to the legitimate prospects of the street. The buildings in the vicinity were chiefly taverns and lodging-houses, with an intermixture of small stores, while the country wagons and other vehicles congregating around the market almost precluded ordinary passage along the narrow thoroughfare (about twenty feet wide) on either side of the market. At length, after many years of unavailing effort to have the market removed by legislative authority, resort was had to the machinery of the law, and the building was indicted in 1771 as a public nuisance, and its removal was accomplished. A new market-house, bearing the same name, was erected on the southeasterly corner of Broadway and Maiden lane, its main front being on the latter street. By this arrangement the business establishments which had grown up around the old market-place were not materially injured, and they continued in occupancy for their former purposes until the great fire of 1776, which swept away all those situated on the west side of the street. Of the buildings then destroyed the most notable was the King's Arms tavern, a public house which had a considerable reputation, and was more frequented by country people than any other in the city. It was situated opposite the market, and was constructed of gray stone with narrow arched windows in front. A piazza along the rear afforded a view of the river.

In 1790 a survey of Broadway, from Rector street to the Park, was ordered for the purpose of repaving. Bricks were ordered for sidewalks, and improvements immediately began.

On the west side of Broadway the Tontine tavern, afterward known as the City Hotel, was erected about the year 1794. This was justly considered a model of enterprise in those days and is said to have been the first building in the city covered with a slate roof. It soon took the lead as the scene of public balls, dinners, concerts, and festivities, and the old Assembly Rooms, which had formerly enjoyed a fashionable popularity, fell into a subordinate position. It was for a long time, in the early part of the present century, kept by John Lovett, and subsequently by Ezra Weeks, Chester Jennings, and other popular landlords, whom our space will not permit us to particularize. its demolition within recent years makes it properly a subject of illustration. The view was taken after many improvements were made in the neighborhood, but shows the building in its original form.

The stage establishment of Brower & Anderson, under the directorship of James Carr, was, in 1796, situated in the block between Cedar and Liberty streets. On next block, extending to Courtlandt street, fine buildings and stores had been erected, occupied by John B. Dash, Jr., iron merchant; John Jacob Astor, fur merchant; Abraham Russel, builder; Charles Dickinson; Dr. Benj. Kissam; Jas. H. Kipp, merchant; Jacobus Bogart, a wealthy baker, and others. From Courtlandt street to Fulton street some of the buildings were of a superior description, others of a less pretentious character. But within the following twenty years the character of the street had become firmly established as the emporium of retail and shopping trade. The buildings were of the first class of that day, though most of them have fallen before the great strides of architectural progress in recent years. We give the various buildings, with their valuation, occupants, &c., in 1815: No. 123, City Hotel (Ezra Weeks), $90,000; No. 127, Sheldon & Beach, dry goods store,$11,000; No. 135, John C. Jacobs,$8,600; No. 139, William Bruce, merchant,$15,000; No. 141, William Young, saddler, $10,500; No. 145, William Dean, dry goods store, $10,500; No. 147, John B. Dash, iron store, $16,000; No. 149, Nathaniel Smith, perfumer, $13,000; No. 151, Abraham Bussing, dry goods store, $13,000; No. 153, Aaron Thompson, $13,000; Nos. 155 and 157, Peter Stolenwerk, jeweler, $20,000; No. 159, Jesse Baldwin, merchant, $14,000; No. 163, A. L. Fessott, $6,000; No. 165, Alex. McDonald, merchant, $6,000; No. 167, Jacob L. Sebring, dry goods, $18,000; No. 169, Ebbits & Rankin, saddlers, $6,000; No. 171, Jacobus Bogert, baker, $20,000; No. 173, John Wolfendale, $20,000; No. 175, King & Mead, merchants, $16,500; No. 177, Ephraim Lee, dry goods store, $113,500; No. 179, Theophilus Pierce, $19,000; No. 181, Wilbur & Fish, $15,000; No. 183, Cushman & Falconer, $16,000; No. 187, And. G. Zabriskie, merchant, $19,000; No. 189, Garrit Gilbert, $15,000; No. 191, Spader & Carmon, merchants, $14,500; No. 195, David L. Haight, $14,000; No. 197, D.L. Haight, $12,000; No. 199, Robert Buloid, grocer, $18,000; No. 201, Stephen Ward, dry goods store, $12,000; No. 205, N.M. Boquet, milliner, $12,000; No. 207, B. & H Haight, dry goods store, $10,000. Among the public houses which have, from time to time, enjoyed popularity in this section, have been the Rathbone Hotel, No. 163 Broadway, about the year 1850, and the Franklin House, on the northwest corner of Broadway and Dey street, which under the supervision of J.P. Treadwell, was one of the leading resorts of country merchants.

The east side of Broadway was less fashionable as a shopping mart than the opposite side, and the improvement in architecture was less rapid; the buildings at first erected were many of them of two stories, although within thirty years succeeding the Revolution these had mostly given place to first-class edifices,  which, with few exceptions were occupied for commercial purposes. Barnum's Hotel, which in 1851 was named the Howard House, has up to the present time maintained a high reputation. The Tremont Temperance House, formerly occupied No. 110 Broadway. The New York Athenaeum, was established in 1824 on the corner of Broadway and Pine street. In 1825, the National Hotel, 112 Broadway, corner of Cedar street, was finished.

Within comparatively recent years nearly all the cross streets leading into Broadway in this section, have been widened and improved. In 1833 Liberty street (previously to 1794 called Crown street), was widened from Broadway to Greenwich street. In 1834 Pine street (previously to 1794 called King street), was widened from Broadway to Nassau street. In 1836 John street was widened from Broadway to Pearl street. In 1834 Fulton street was widened from Broadway to Ryders' alley. In 1852 Liberty street was widened from Broadway to Greenwich street. In 1851 Dey street was widened from Broadway to Greenwich street. In 1854 Wall street was widened from Broadway to Nassau street.

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Website: The History Box.com
Article Name: D.T. Valentine's History of Broadway Pre: 1865 Part II
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: From My Collection of Books: Manual of the Corporation of the City of New York by D.T. Valentine 1865
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