Wall Street took its name from the wall which once defended New Amsterdam at this point.* The wall outlived its usefulness and disappeared 200 years ago, but the name it gave to the street which ran beside it has become the most famous street name in the world.
Wall Street, the place, is the financial center of the country. Wall Street, the name, is synonymous with securities, stocks, bonds and shares, trust certificates, gold, money, investment, speculation, fortune, ruin. We shall find here a succession of imposing hank and office buildings whose architectural effect is of solidity, strength and durability—qualities which have their ultimate expression in the massive constructions of the Sub-Treasury and the Custom House. Facing the street and filling the vista on Broadway, stands Trinity Church, its melodious belfry chiming the hours of the Wall Street day. The sidewalks and the street itself are crowded with alert, intent, hurrying, jostling throngs of bankers, brokers, lawyers, clerks, express men, messenger boys, ubiquitous here as every-where throughout the city; and now and then, if we recognize him, a detective.
A few steps from Broadway, New Street opens to the south in a veritable Rocky Mountain canon between towering cliffs. A few doors below is the
NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE, the greatest market of stocks, bonds, and other securities in the world. Admission to the visitors' gallery is by card from a member. The chief external feature of the million-dollar building is the Broad street facade.
THE CONSOLIDATED EXCHANGE occupies a monumental building at the corner of Broad and Beaver streets. THE CURB MARKET of the "curb-stone brokers" is in Broad street in front of the Mills Building. It is a meeting place for trading in stocks, Standard Oil among them, which are not dealt in on the regular exchanges.
On the northwest corner of Wall Street and Nassau towers the magnificent BANKERS' TRUST COMPANY BUILDING. This is distinguished by massiveness of construction and the elegance of the interior; and is further notable as an example of that astonishing system of tearing down and building up, which is characteristic of the development of the city. The Bankers' Trust building here occupies the site of the Gillender Building, a twenty-story structure which was in its day one of the architectural marvels of the town, and which was in 1911 demolished to make way for the present building.
Wall Street History.
The wall was built by command of Gov. Peter Stuyvesant in 1653. The palisades. or stockade, extended along the East River, from near the present head of Coenties Slip, on the north line of Pearl Street, crossing the fields to the North River, on the present north side of Wall Street (whence its name), and then along the North River to the fort, just east of Greenwich Street, which was then under water. le digging the foundation of the new Bowling Green offices, 5-11 Broadway, a large number of these old posts were found many feet under the surface. Although nearly 250 years old, the portions found were in a wonderful state of preservation. Canes and other mementoes have been made from these.—Spencer Trask in Historic New York.
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