Early Streets of the City of New York 1852

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Pages: 403-406

South William Street, and the Alley From South William to Stone Street

In early times, the grinding of grain in this city and neighborhood, was by means of either wind or horse mills, water power being only to be had in situations exposed to assaults of the savages. Several mills were thus worked in this city; one of which was erected upon the side of a hill, a little south of the present junction of South William and Beaver streets. A road led to this mill from Broad street, and turning from the mill at right angles, it came out in a road, now Stone street. The road from Broad street to the mill was afterward left open, and in course of time became known as "Mill lane,' subsequently as "Mill street lane," afterward as "Mill street." In course of years, the old mill was taken down, and in late days the ancient mill lane has been extended through to William street. Its name has been changed to South William street, which it holds at the present time. The narrow lane, or way of egress from the mill, still is as narrow as it was originally, being barely sufficient for the passage of a cart.

Coenties Alley

This little street was formerly an alley-way, adjoining the first City Hall, which was erected in 1642, in Pearl street, at the head of Coenties slip, on the west corner of this alley. The entrance to the jail, which occupied a portion of the building, was in the rear part, and accessible by this alley-way. On the opposite corner of the alley a tavern was built, about the year 1674, by Governor Nichols, the English commander-in-chief. The second story of this tavern was connected with the City Hall by a balcony stretching across this alley-way. This tavern was partly a private speculation of the Governor, and partly built with a view to supply a want of the city at that time, by having a good house of entertainment for travelers in the town. The English had just taken possession, and there was no English tavern before that in this city.

Morris Street

This small street, the first above the Battery, leading from Broadway to the North River, was, in early times, a steep pathway leading to the shore of the river, which then ran along Greenwich street. It was called "the Alley that leads to the Oyster Pasty." It was known within the present century as Beaver lane.

Rector Street

The name of this street was given to it from the circumstance that a plot of ground, on the north corner of Broadway and the present Rector street, was, at the time the first Trinity Church was built, about 1696-7, appropriated for a residence for the Episcopal clergyman. The purpose was changed, however, and the plot was made a part of the burial ground.

Moore Street

The Custom House of this port formerly stood on the north side of Pearl street, opposite to this street. The water line of the East river then ran along Pearl street. A pier was built out in front of the Custom House, upon which goods were landed from small boats and vessels, which could approach it. This pier was commonly called "The Bridge," or "The Landing place." About the year 1690, the first filling in of a part of the present Water street was commenced east of this bridge, and extended to Broad street. In course of time the old landing place became a part of terra firma, and being public property, was left as a street. It became known as Moor street from having been the mooring place of boats; but the signification of the name having been lost by lapse of time, it was supposed to be called after some individual named "Moore," which name it has since borne.

Hanover Street

This street is mostly of modern date. Previous to the year 1700, the whole space between William, Wall and Pearl streets was not crossed by any street. Soon after that date a slaughter house was built in the vacant space, in the centre of that block, about the present south-west corner of Beaver and Hanover streets. To reach this a lane led nearly on the present line of
Beaver street from William street, and then turned at right angles for a way of egress into Pearl street. The lane running into Pearl street, was on the present line of Hanover street. The whole lane was then called "Slaughter-house lane," subsequently shortened into "Sloat street lane," afterward into "Sloat street."

The part of the lane running from William street has, in recent times, been extended into Pearl street. The short lane has formed part of Hanover street, which has been opened to Wall street within the present century.


Note. The precise dates when these changes took place, would be difficult to fix with accuracy. They are taken from he records and maps of different periods.


In 1665, was called "De Heere straat," or the principal street. In 1677, it was known as Broadway. In 1791, above Chambers street, it was known as Great George street. In 1804, it was called Broadway simply.

Wall Street

In 1665, was known as "De Cingel of te Stadt Waal," or, the Walk along the City Wall. In 1677, it was called "The Walls." In 1695, and since, "Wall Street"

Pearl Street

In 1665, the part between State and Whitehall streets, was called "Perel straat," (Pearl street.) The part between Whitehall street and Hanover square, "De Hoagh street," the High street.

In 1677, the whole was called "The High street."

In 1695, the part west of Whitehall street, was called "Pearl street." The part between Whitehall and Broad streets, was called "The Dock street." The part east of Broad street was called "Great Queene street."

In 1804, the whole extent from State to Chatham streets, was called "Pearl street;" between Chatham street and Broadway, it was called "Magazine street."

Stone Street

In 1665, was called "De Brouwer straat," or the Brewer street. In 1677, it was called "Stony street." In 1695, between Whitehall and Broad streets, it was called "Stone street." East of Broad street, it was called "Duke street." In 1804, it was called "Stone street" throughout.

Bridge Street

In 1665, was called "De Brugh straat," or the Bridge street. In 1695, "Hull street." In 1778, "Bridge street." In 1791, "Wincon street."

Broad Street

In 1665, was called "De Heere Graaft," or the principal Canal. In 1695, and since, "Broad street."

Beaver Street

The part west of Broad street was called "De Bever Graaft," or the Beaver Canal. The part east of Broad street was called "De Prince Graaft," or the Prince's Canal. In 1695, the names of the different sections were changed respectively to "Beaver street" and "Prince's street." In 1800, the whole was called "Beaver street."

Marketfield Street

In 1665, was called "T'marckvelt steegie," the Marketfield path; in 1677, "Marketfield street;" in 1695, "Petticoat lane;" in 1728, "Marketfield street;" in 1804, "Field street."

William Street

In 1665, the part south of Wall street was called "De Smits valey," or the Smith's valley; in 1695, "King street;" in 1728, below Maiden lane it was called "Smith street;" above, "William street;" in 1804, called "William street" throughout.

South William Street

In 1677, was called "Mill street lane;" in 1695, "Mill lane; " in 1728, "Mill street."

Exchange Place

In 1695, was called "Church street;" in 1728, the part between Broadway and Broad streets was called "Flattenbarrack;" between Broad and William streets, it was called "Garden street;" in 1804, it was called, throughout, "Garden street."

Pine Street

IN 1695, was called "Queene street;" in 1728 "King street;" in 1804. "Pine street."

Cedar Street

In 1695, was called "Smith street;" in 1728, "Little Queene street;" in 1804, "Cedar street."

Maiden Lane

In 1657, was called "De Maagde padje," the maid's path; in 1695, "Maiden Lane."

Liberty Street

In 1695, was called "Crowne street;" in 1804, "Liberty street."

Nassau Street

In 1700, was called "The Streete that leads by the Pye Woman's;" in 1728, below John street, it was called "Nassau street;" above, "Kip street;" in 1791, throughout, "Nassau street."

Gold Street

In 1728, between John street and Maiden Lane, was called "Rutger's Hill;" between Fulton and Ann streets, "Vanderclift's street;" above Ann street, "Gold street;" in 1791, throughout, "Gold street."

John Street

In 1728, between Broadway and William streets, was called "John street;" between William and Pearl streets, "Golden hill;" in 1804, throughout, "John street."

Fulton Street

In 1728, east of Broadway, was called "Fair street;" in 1755, west of Broadway, was called "Partition street;" east, "Fair street."

Website: The History Box.com
Article Name: Early Streets of the City of New York 1852
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: From my collection of Books: Manual of the Corporation of the City of New York for 1852 by D.T. Valentine; George P. Putnam-New York
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