Wall Street is one of the world’s most famous streets.Its heart is the narrow thoroughfare of the same name in Lower Manhattan that is home to the New York Stock Exchange.Historically known as the center of New York’s financial district,Wall Street is often associated with wealth and ambition in the United States.According to history,after the Dutch “purchased” New Amsterdam from the Native Americans,a wall was erected that formed the northern boundary of the new colony.The first “walls” along the street were plank fences,but as time passed and tensions grew, a stronger and taller wall was built in order to defend the colony against both the British and the American Indians tribes that still dominated the area.The British removed the wall around the turn of the 18th century.A new street was created at the site of the former wall,aptly named Wall Street.Records show that in the years after the Revolutionary War,traders and speculators would gather under a particular buttonwood tree that sat at the foot of Wall Street.They soon formed The Button Association(1792),which is believed to be roots of the New York Stock Exchange,whose headquarters has been located on Wall Street for centuries.
By the late 19th and early 20th centuries,Wall Street was “the place” to be if you were a large financial institution or other big business.So many buildings sprung up on this tip of Manhattan that the Wall Street district began to boast its own distinct skyline,separate from the buildings in Midtown.Other attractive and significant buildings surrounded by Wall Street include one of Wall Street’s famous landmarks that is the Federal Hall National Memorial,originally built for City Halls and offices. In front of this building our first president,George Washington had his inauguration and this site was also where the United States of Bill Rights was introduced in the First Congress.
The Trinity Church,currently is the third building to stand on Broadway and Wall Street.It was designed by American Institute of Architects co-founder William Upjohn and was consecrated on Ascension Day in 1846.
The Woolworth Building-The building became an instant landmark,due both to the then very impressive height,and because of its Gothic ornamentation.This gave it the nickname “Cathedral of Commerce”.The height caused several challenges at the time: it was the first building to have its own steam turbines and it had the fastest elevators(30 in total).
Wall Street in a conceptual sense represents financial and economic power.To Americans,it can sometimes represent elitism and power politics,and its role has been a source of controversy throughout the nation’s history,particularly beginning around the Gilded Age period in the late 19th century.Wall Street became the symbol of a country and economic system that many Americans see as having developed through trade,capitalism,and innovation.
By Christabel Koomson