The Skyscraper Museum is devoted to the study of high-rise building, past, present, and future. The Museum explores tall buildings as objects of design, products of technology, sites of construction, investments in real estate, and places of work and residence. This site will look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.


east river commerce
Top: The Eno Collection of New York City Views, Coffee-House slip foot of Wall-Street, 1830. Retrieved from NYPL Digital Archive.
Bottom: Moses King, King's Views of New York Stock Exchange, 1897, pg. 73.

Wall Street began its commercial and financial development along the East River where port activity was focused. At the end of the 18th century docks lined Front Street, then the water's edge, and commodities of all kinds were unloaded to warehouses, while merchants traded the value of shipments on exchanges. The goods arriving to New York in the 1790s were registered at the coffee houses on Wall Street and included coffee, tea, sugar and molasses, fine furniture, cloth, cotton, and enslaved men, women, and children. The custom of drinking coffee had been introduced during the Dutch Period, but it was after the English take over of New York, the British manners of tea and coffee drinking became a social activity. Coupled with the need for public assembly spaces where news could be shared, coffee houses soon became centers of the business and political life of the city.

The Tontine Coffee House was organized by a group of 24 prominent brokers and merchants who had entered into an exclusive trade agreement on a common-commission basis, creating the Tontine Association. Rivaling the older Merchants Coffee House located diagonally on the southeast corner of Wall and Water streets, the Tontine became the premiere meeting place for New York's wealthy merchants after a fire destroyed the Merchants Coffee House in 1804. The New York Stock Exchange traces its origins to the Tontine, where early trading of the New York Stock & Exchange Board took place until relocation to the moved Merchants Exchange at 55 Wall Street in 1817.


Pre-1850 History of Wall Street
Dutch Origins
New Amsterdam: The Castello Plan
British New York
Early 18th Century
The Slave Market
City Hall
East River Commerce
Fire of 1776
Trinity Churches
Mansions and Banks
Wall Street in 1825
The Great Fire of 1835
Customs House and Merchants Exchange
A Street of Banks
Lowenstrom's Panorama-1850 South
Lowenstrom's Panorama-1850 North
New York in 1850
Fortune 1930
Monuments of Wall Street
Early Photographs of Wall Street
Vertical Wall Street
1 Wall Street
23 and 63 Wall Street
Unbuilt Stock Exchange
14 Wall Street
40 Wall Street
60 Wall Street
120 Wall Street
1928-1931 Towers
East River End
Historical Land Maps