Where did Wall Street get its name?
The name of the street derives from the fact that during the
17th century, it formed the northern boundary of the New Amsterdam
settlement. In the 1640s basic picket and plank fences denoted
plots and residences in the colony.
Later, on behalf of the West India Company, Peter Stuyvesant, in
part using African slaves, led the Dutch in the construction of a
stronger stockade. By the time war had developed with the English,
a strengthened 12 foot wall of timber and earth was created by 1653
fortified by palisades.
The wall was created, and strengthened over time, as a defense
against attack from various Indian tribes, New England colonists,
and the British. In 1685 surveyors laid out Wall Street along the
lines of the original stockade.
The wall was dismantled by the British in 1699. In the late 18th
century, there was a buttonwood tree at the foot of Wall Street
under which traders and speculators would gather to trade
informally. In 1792, the traders formalized their association with
the Buttonwood Agreement.
This was the origin of the New York Stock Exchange. In 1889, the
original stock report, Customers' Afternoon Letter, became the The
Wall Street Journal, named in reference to the actual street, it is
now an influential international daily business newspaper published
in New York City.
For many years, it had the widest circulation of any newspaper
in the United States, although it is currently second to USA Today.
It is owned by Dow Jones & Company.
Also, Free-roaming hogs were famous for rampaging through the
valuable grain fields of colonial New York City farmers. The
Manhattan Island residents chose to block the troublesome hogs with
a long, permanent wall on the northern edge of what is now Lower
Manhattan. A street came to border this wall -- named aptly enough,