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Saturday, August 20, 2011

1644 to 1700 WALL STREET

1644 to 1700 WALL STREET

In 1644, due to consistent conflicts with the surrounding tribes Governor Kieft of New Amsterdam ordered the erection of a fence or wall. All citizens with cattle were ordered to assist in the build. The goal was to keep livestock from wandering off and being stolen, as well as serve as an impediment for aggressive tribe members and wild animals from reaching within the settlement.

The wall ran down from Broadway to the East River and Hudson Rivers. The area was a marsh and meadow. Tanning was performed in addition to grazing livestock. It was 12 feet high and 1.5 feet wide, made of soil and wood with sharpened posts at the top. Ditches of three to four feet were located on the inside. Soil was used to add strength and could be three feet thick in areas.

Two main gates were affixed to the wall, one at Broadway (known as Land’s Gate) and one at Pearl Street (Water’s Gate).

It stayed in place as a wall until 1653. By then it faded into a mound. By 1664 when New Amsterdam was surrendered to the English it was in disrepair, Governor Nicolls decided to repair it for service against potential attacks from the North.

By 1693 a Church as erected near the wall and it became an area of very wealthy residents. In 1695 Trinity Church was at the high point near Broadway, and sprinkled on the Eastern side were public torture and punishment devices. 1696 began was the beginning of the night watch where trusted citizens would light lanterns and watch the perimeter of the wall.

1700 completed the new site of the City Hall moved from Pearl Street. The New City Hall was located at the present Federal Hall Building with its great statue of George Washington.

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