There’s an incline along William Street, in the Financial District, that peaks where it intersects with John Street. Could it be a remnant of the colonial-era enclave of Golden Hill?
This was once the highest point at the tip of Manhattan—a place of an “abundant crop of grain, which it said waved gracefully in response to the gentle breeze and looked, in truth, like a hill of gold,” states an 1898 New York Times article.
On January 19, 1770, tensions were high between many New York residents and British soldiers. Colonists had constructed several liberty poles, signs of defiance against the Redcoats.
After the British destroyed a liberty pole in City Hall park, a confrontation ensued between soldiers and citizens several days later at Golden Hill. There, the British charged citizens with bayonets, wounding several.
“This is the first blood spilled during the American Revolution, two month before the Boston Massacre,” reports Old World NYC. “The clash would roll back and forth finally leading to a standoff . . . but the war had begun.”
Check out these other pieces from New York’s Revolutionary War past.
[Right: Battle of Golden Hill by Charles MacKubin Lefferts]