City Hall Park in the 19th Century


The City Hall Park began to take the shape it has today in the 19th century, specially with the construction of the City Hall, erected from 1803 to 1812. Then the population of the City of New York was more than 72 thousand people.

The fence surrounding the Park was built in 1818 and completed in 1821. It replaced the old post and rail fence built in 1785.

In 1818, the Rotunda was built as New York City’s first art museum. In 1830, the Gaol, a debtor prison, was transformed into the city’s hall of records. The building was torn down in 1903.

By the 1830s, the park had become a popular leisure and entertainment venue. In 1842, the Croton Fountain was placed in the center of City Hall Park. In 1858, the City Hall was partly destroyed by fire. The Old New York County Courthouse (now Tweed Courthouse) was constructed from 1861 and 1881. A new Post Office building was constructed in the Park area, between 1869 and 1880. It was demolished in 1939. The Nathan Hale monument, a revolutionary martyr who gave his life for his country in 1776, was erected by the Sons of the Revolution in the park. It was dedicated on November 25, 1893, anniversary of Evacuation Day.

In 1872 an ornate granite fountain, designed by the architect Jacob Wrey Mould, replaced the old fountain in front of City Hall building. In 1920, the fountain was disassembled and relocated to Crotona Park in the Bronx. It returned to the Park as part of its renovation in 1999.

In the late 19th century, several of the early skyscrapers in New York City were built around the Park, including the New-York Tribune (1875), the expanded NY Times Building, completed in 1889, the World Building, completed in 1890, and the Park Row Building (1899).

More: Broadway at City Hall Park in 19th Century


City Hall Park 19th century


NYC in the 19th Century




New York City Hall




Post Office


Drawing from A Pictorial Description of Broadway, published in 1899 by Mail & Express Company.


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Above, City Hall from East River about 1840.


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City Hall Park


Copyright © Geographic Guide - NYC in the 19th Century.


Herald Building





City Hall Park in the 19th Century