Our Firemen, The History of the NY Fire Departments
Chapter 22, Part II
By Holice and Debbie
In the spring of 1864 the lower section of the Central Park was so far completed as to conduce greatly to the pleasant enjoyment of the citizens. The part of the park then in course of improvement was between One hundred and Sixth and one Hundred and Tenth Streets. Eight miles of carriage roads, five miles of bridle-paths and twenty miles of foot-walks wre the open to the public. The taxable valuation of the three wards adjacent had increased from 1856 to 1862 twenty-seven millions of dollars, due in a considerable extent to the opening of the park. The cost of that improvement, including land, up to the first of January, 1863, was seven million three hundred and seventy-two thousand four hundred and twenty-six dollars.
The growth and prosperity of New York by the advent of the year 1866 were declared to be beyond parallel. Its resources were immense. Populations and wealth wre pouring into it from all parts of the world. The rich country which surrounded it contributed incessantly to its progress and advancement, and it needed not the gift of prophecy to recognize the fact that before many years the whole island would be crowded with an active and energetic people.
The funded debt of the city on December 22, 1865, was twenty-nine million nine hundred and thirty-two thousand five hundred and seventy-six dollars and fifty cents; and of the county, eleven million three hundred and thirty-three thousand four hundred dollars, together, making forty-one million two hundred and sixty-five thousand, nine hundred and seventy-six dollars and fifty cents, of which amount the Commissioners of Sinking Fund held nine million five hundred and eight thousand one hundred and one dollars, leaving a net indebtedness of thirty-one million seven hundred and fifty-seven thousand eight hundred and seventy-five dollars and fifty cents. The whole debt was secured by the entire property of the city, public and private; and the world offered no better security, in 1866, then the public stock of the City and County of New York.
The city could point with pride to the Croton Aqueduct and reservoirs, its Central park and its public buildings, connected with and under the charge of the Commissioners of Charities and Correction, as well as those under the charge of the Board of Education. The Aqueduct was not only a source of pride, of comfort, and of health, but the revenues derived from it more than paid the interest on the cost of its construction. The Central Park was on of those great public improvements demanded by the spirit of the age, and contributed greatly to the comfort and happiness of all the citizens. It yielded no revenue, but like all other great public improvements, it contributed to the power and prosperity of the city of which it was destined to become so great an ornament.
But the wharves, piers and markets of New York presented a striking contrast to the objects mentioned. Thus, the great commercial city of the continent had not a single wharf or pier which was not a disgrace to it.
Many of the streets of the city had in the course of time changed their names, and these changes doubtless have led to confusion of ideas on the part of readers not conversant wit this fact. Following are some of the changes referred to:
Transcribed by Holice B. Young
HTML by Debbie
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