Washington Square, Fountain, University and Church - 1858


Engraving shows Washington Square Park, looking toward the old University of the City of New-York and the Dutch Reformed Church. Illustration published in 1858 in the Nelson's Guide to the City of New York and its Neighbourhood by Thomas Nelson & Sons. Original title of the drawing: "Washington Parade, Ground". Source: National Library of Scotland.

Text from the Nelson's Guide:

«Washington Square and Parade Ground,

forming one of the most pleasing ornaments of the city. The ground which it occupies contains about twelve acres, and was formerly known as the Potter's Field. For many years it was used as a place of burial, and it is one of those significant instances of the law of change to which persons and places are alike subject, that this quiet resting-place of so many dead should now have become the pleasing recreation-ground of the living. The money expended on the improvement of this part of the city is altogether about 240,000 dollars. Besides that it has a handsome fountain and is surrounded by elegant private houses, there are several most important buildings of a public nature in its immediate vicinity. First amongst these ranks the

New York University.

Its position is between Washington Place and Waverly Place, and fronts the square to the west. It is built of West Chester marble, and is of the English collegiate style of architecture. Its dimensions are 180 feet in length by 100 wide. Its central building or chapel is flanked by towers, one of which is raised at each of the four corners of the edifice. This chapel is worthy of high admiration, and is generally regarded as one of the finest rooms of the kind in America. Public worship is observed in it on Sundays, when, of course, it is open to the public ; but the whole building, in which the New York Historical Society also have their rooms, is accessible to the visitor at all times. The official staff connected with this seat of learning, which, it may be remarked, was founded in 1831, consists of a chancellor and eleven professors. Its collegiate department numbers about 150 students; but taking into account its associated institutions, the grammar school, and the medical department, it can boast of an attendance in all of 700 students.

The Dutch Reformed Church

is another prominent structure in this locality. It had its origin in connection with the great fire in December 1835, in which the South Dutch Church in Garden Street, now Exchange Place, was destroyed, together with many other buildings. One portion of the congregation having resolved to build in a less busy part of the town, the present handsome edifice was the result. It is Gothic in its style, but this is most obvious and best earned out in the interior. Its material is dark-coloured granite ; and its dimensions are, from the back part of the building to the tower, eighty feet, and a width of sixty-two feet. Its cost altogether, including the ground, was 124,000 dollars. It is situated at the corner of Washington Place and Wooster Street, fronting the square»





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Washington Square Map


New York University


"The New York University", engraving published in the same book.


Washington Square New York


Fountain Park NY


NY 19th Century


Washington Square, Fountain, University and Church - 1858



Copyright © Geographic Guide - Old NYC. Historic Places in 19th Century.