Fascinating map of the area around Canal Street, Broadway and Church Street, including Architectural Drawings relating to Canal Street in New York, depicting the public works on the Canal circa 1819.
Interesting map and set of drawings illustrating the evolution of New York City's Canal Street.
Located in lower Manhattan, Canal Street draws its name from a canal constructed in the early 19th century to drain the Collect Pond into the Hudson River. In the 18th Century, the Pond was a popular recreation area, but by the early 19th century tanners, butchers, and others began using the Pond as a dumping place, seriously fouling its waters.
In 1803, the City attempted to drain the Pond and fill the Pond and Canal, although the final draining was not completed for more than a decade. The Common Council then authorized a new canal, in the form of a 40-foot wide, 8-foot deep ditch, which would continue carrying off the excess water. Because it was not efficient, and did not have sufficient flow, it, too, became an open sewer. The city covered it over in 1819, but as it had no air traps, the covered canal became a stinking covered sewer.
Canal Street was completed in 1820, following the path of the covered canal and named for it. The historic townhouses and newer tenements that had been built along Canal Street quickly fell into disrepair, and the eastern stretch of Canal Street came within the ambit of the notorious Five Points slum as property values and living conditions plummeted.
Unfortunately, the ground water sources undermined buildings all along the eastern portion of Canal Street. By the mid-19th century this area had degraded into the 'Five Points,' one of the world's most infamous slums and the subject of the Hollywood film, 'Gangs of New York.'
The present set of images for Canal Street was issued in 1860, at the height of the 'Five Points' mayhem and just one year before the events depicted in 'Gangs of New York.'