Saturday, 15 December 2007

The History of Wall Street

The History of Wall Street
By John Caldecott.

When people in the media, or just people in the know, refer to the various stock markets in lower Manhattan in New

York City, they usually just refer to Wall Street. The now famous financial district has become synonymous with

large amounts of money, power and influence. But how did one street manage to evolve into such an important address?

Ironically, most major investment firms that helped to build Wall Street into the financial force that it is today

aren’t even headquartered there anymore. Thanks to technology advancements, these companies are usually

headquartered in other parts of Manhattan or in neighbouring New Jersey or Connecticut. One of the most influential

companies in Wall Street history, J.P. Morgan moved from the address that they helped make famous in late 2001.

The name Wall Street was actually given to the street since it formed a boundary to the New Amsterdam settlement in

the early 1600’s. To help ward off the British, a 12-foot wall was built around the street to keep out invaders in

1653. In 1792, the Buttonwood agreement started the New York Stock Exchange and its headquarters would be on Wall


In 1889, a newspaper that would eventually become the Wall Street Journal began publication. The paper took its

name from the fact that a growing financial district was sprouting around the stock exchange and many companies

that would go on to be powerful forces in the United States economy were headquartered there.

One of the most well known symbols of Wall Street, the JP Morgan headquarters, was built in 1914. The building

still stands today, but is now owned and run by Deutsche Bank.

Wall Street has seen its fair share of history over the years, with the 1920 bombing that killed around 40 people

and injured 400 to the great crash of 1929 that saw some people kill themselves. Today, if you check the front

façade of the JP Morgan building, you can still see pock marks of the 1920 terrorist attack.

The construction of the World Trade Centers were the only real major architectural change to the financial district

in the last half of the 20th century, and their subsequent destruction has left a void in the hearts and minds of

many that work and live near there.

The history of Wall Street is a collage of incredible highs and devastating lows. As the center for American and

some would say world finance, you can bet that there will be plenty of memories made on the most famous street in the world.

Godbless, John Caldecott.

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