The New York Sun reports on the ancient remains of that water utility company that nowadays goes around pretending to be a bank.
When construction workers peel back the pavement in lower Manhattan, it's like opening a skylight into the old New York — a place where water flowed through hollowed-out logs and the streets were crowded with ship builders, pottery makers, and tavern riffraff.
More than 3,000 objects have been found under Beekman Street between Pearl and Water streets, where archaeologist Alyssa Loorya has been monitoring a city construction site for the last two years.
The largest find was four pieces of the city's old wooden water mains. These mains are hollowedout yellow pine logs, which distributed water from a water reservoir just north of Chambers Street during the end of the 18th and early 19th centuries, a historian and author of "Water for Gotham," Gerard Koeppel, said.
The pieces are wider on one end and narrower on the other so that each section could fit into another, with a metal collar binding them together. Customers of the Manhattan Company, which eventually became the J.P. Morgan Chase Manhattan Bank, paid $5 a year per household with no more than five fireplaces to tap into the water mains. Another $1.25 was added onto the bill for each successive fireplace as a way to account for bigger households, Mr. Koeppel said.
Value added: We all know who JP Morgan was, right? So who was this Chase fellow? The "bank" gets its last name for Salmon Chase (pictured left). Now old Sam was the Abraham LIncoln's Treasury Secretary but he never had anything do to with the Chase National Bank. They just liked the name. Which strikes us as a bit tacky. It's as if one of these new boutique investment banks decided to name themselves The Paulson Bank.
Archaeologist Finds Pottery, Wood Water Mains Downtown [New York Sun]