Reminiscences of New York by an Octogenarian (1816 - 1860)
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By Charles H. Haswell

Active in NY's civic and cultural life a half-century, Haswell's meticulous notes on it were published in 1896, the same year Correction emerged as a separate agency. A century later Jackson Era devotee Hal Morris posted them on his Tales of the Early Republic web site, from where these passages have been excerpted with permission.
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Chapter VIII: 1825 - William Paulding, Philip Hone, Mayors

The three monuments mentioned by Haswell (see text left) were erected at Madison Square Park. In 1857 a granite obelisk honoring Gen. William Jenkins Worth, for whom Lower Manhattan's Worth St. and Texas' Fort Worth were named, was installed on a small plot on 5th Ave. opposite Madison Square. In 1876 two bronze statues were dedicated: one, by Augustus St. Gaudens, honoring Adm. David G. Farragut, and another, by Randolph Rogers, honoring former NY Gov. William H. Seward.
A number of citizens associated in 1823, and formed a society for the custody of juvenile delinquents, and their moral and scholastic improvement; and as another party entertained the purpose of constructing a House of Refuge for such delinquents after the manner which had been proposed by Dr. John Griscom six years previously, the two associations joined; and in 1824 the United States Arsenal at junction of Broadway and the old Boston or Middle Road, which had been built in 1806, now the site of the Farragut, Worth, and Seward monuments, was fashioned to accommodate the two sexes of juveniles, and on the 1st of January, 1825 it was opened for operation. This building was burned in 1839, and the institution was removed to the foot of East Twenty-third Street in October of that year.

The site of these buildings and the surrounding area, in 1807, extended to Thirty­fourth Street on the north, Third Avenue on the east, and Seventh Avenue on the west; it was reduced in 1814 to the limits of Thirty­first Street, Fourth and Sixth avenues, and designated as Madison Square. About 1844 a further reduction was made to the present limits of Madison Square-Madison and Fifth avenues, Twenty­third and Twenty­sixth streets. The original design was that of a great military parade ground.

In this year Chambers Street was extended from Cross (now City Hall Place) to Chatham Street; the name of Hester Street, from Centre to Broadway, was changed to Howard Street; the Merchants' Exchange building was begun; a new building for the Savings Bank lately known as the Bleecker Street was erected in Chambers Street. An extensive fire occurred in Spring, Sullivan, and Thompson streets. The city was divided into twelve wards. Illuminating gas was coming more and more into general use, and the wooden lamp­posts were being replaced by those of iron. Gas­pipes were now first laid in Broadway from the Battery to Canal Street. . . .

Mr. Daniel R. Lambert, on the night of the 3d of June, in company with some friends, was returning from a visit to a friend (Lyde) who resided on or near Broadway and Tenth Street, a location so strictly suburban that it partook of the character of the country. About 1 A.M. he was offensively addressed by a party of young men, and upon retaliation and defence being essayed, Mr. Lambert was killed by a blow in his stomach. The young men were subsequently tried and convicted of manslaughter. . . . .

At this time it was suggested, the project being favorably considered by many, that it would be practicable and advisable to open and extend Canal Street, as a canal or strait, from river to river. The public pound then was in the Park grounds and near to the City Hall. . . .

Few NYC dwellers today are aware of the Erie Canal's significance for this city but as Haswell's text makes clear (see right), NYCers back then fully realized how opening the waterway into the continent's interior -- symbolized by the Clinton High School mural detail depicting the 1825 celebration of the "marriage of the waters" lake, river and ocean waters -- would make the city America's most inportant port. The full mural can be seen on the NYS Canal Corp. web site's brief history of the canal system.
A most interesting and significant series of celebrations began when, on October 8, the Erie Canal was formally opened to the Hudson River at Albany, and Samuel L. Mitchell, LL. D., M.D., on the part of this city, poured water from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans into that of the canal. On the 26th the completion of the great work was celebrated by the departure of a flotilla of canal­boats from Buffalo, at 1O A.M., added to at Albany by steamboats, and proceeding thence to Sandy Hook, where water from Lake Erie, from the Mississippi and Columbia rivers, and from the rivers of twelve foreign countries, was solemnly poured into the Atlantic. The start from Buffalo was at the signal of a gun, which was transmitted by other guns at intervals for the entire distance to New York, and then returned in the same fashion; the times between the first and last guns from lake to sea, and from sea to lake again, were an hour and twenty­five minutes each way. This famous aquatic procession, with its fit company of dignitaries, traversed -- it might almost be said under a canopy of flags -- the whole breadth of the State, and then the Hudson River, lighted by successive bonfires and to the sound of church bells through the whole length of its route. On November 4 it reached New York, when the city fairly "broke loose," with every possible official and popular demonstration of rejoicing. At the City Hall fifteen thousand fire­balls were ignited and projected. . . . . .

December 23 the name of Slote Lane was changed to Exchange Place. On the 31st the thermometer marked 27 degrees below zero. . . .

The prototype of the present steel pens was made of silver; the sale, however, was very restricted, in face of attachment to the established quill; the ever­pointed pencil also made its first appearance in this year. . . . .

It is worth noting that the social status of Negroes, at that period and for many years afterward, was very different from that of the present time. Negroes were not admitted in street stages, in the cabins of steamboats, theatres, or places of amusement; and in churches only in pews at the foot of the aisles which were assigned to them. Later, when street railways were put in operation, the Sixth Avenue line designated some of its cars by painting conspicuously on the sides, "Colored Persons allowed in this Car.". . . . .

Update note:
The Manhattan Detention Complex aka the Tombs is situated at Centre and White Sts., mentioned by Haswell as the site of the NY Dispensary [see text right].

New York Dispensary, organized 1790, incorporated 1798. Having omitted any previous notice of this institution, I avail myself of a recollection of a visit to it in company with one of its physicians. It was and is located in Centre, corner of White Street. The district of its operation is bounded by the North River, a line through Spring Street, Broadway to Fourteenth Street, thence to and down First Avenue to Allen and Pike streets and the East River. Its object is the furnishing of free medical, surgical, and dental aid, vaccination, and the visiting of deserving sick in their homes when necessary. . . .

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