New York Banking and Stock Exchange Walking Tour
This short tour includes stops at historic banks, stock exchanges, and government buildings related to the city of New York becoming the center of American finance by the early 1900s.
The Museum of American Finance is the nation’s only independent museum dedicated to preserving, exhibiting and teaching about American finance and financial history. Housed in an historic bank building on Wall Street, the Museum’s magnificent grand mezzanine banking hall provides an ideal setting for permanent exhibits on the financial markets, money, banking, entrepreneurship, and Alexander Hamilton. With its extensive collection of financial documents and objects, and its seminars and educational programming, the Museum portrays the breadth and richness of American financial history, achievement, and practices. It occupies the former home of the Bank of New York, founded by Alexander Hamilton in 1784.
Federal Hall National Memorial is located at the former site of New York's city hall which was constructed in 1703 and later became the first seat of the United States government. The current building was completed in 1842 and is now operated by the National Park Service. The original city hall from the colonial era was the site of the famous trial of John Peter Zenger. In 1765, this was also where the Stamp Act Congress met with delegates from different colonies protesting their dissatisfaction with "taxation without representation." After the Revolutionary War, it was here that George Washington was inaugurated, and this is also the place where the Bill of Rights was proposed and ratified. Federal Hall served as the seat of government from 1789 until 1790 when the U.S. capital was moved to Philadelphia. The original building was demolished in 1812, and this building was constructed and opened for service in 1842 as a U.S. custom house. At the end of the Great Depression, the building began its transition to its current use as a heritage site. Federal Hall is now operated by the National Park Service with artifacts and tours that interpret the colonial era and early republic with an emphasis on the role played by the city of New York.
23 Wall Street, also known as "The Corner," is an office building situated in Manhattan's Financial District at the intersection of Wall Street and Broad Street. The structure was designed by the architectural firm of Trowbridge and Livingston. Completed in 1914 as the headquarters for the J.P. Morgan and Co., the four-story bank still stands today, although scarred by small pockmarks from the infamous anarchist’s bomb attack that killed 38.
The NYSE trading floor is located at 11 Wall Street and is composed of four rooms used for the facilitation of trading. A fifth trading room, located at 30 Broad Street, was closed in February 2007. The main building, located at 18 Broad Street, between the corners of Wall Street and Exchange Place, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978.
Remembered only by currency collectors who value its notes that featured Santa Claus, this historic bank operated on Wall Street throughout the second half of the 19th century. Historian Stephen Mihm found that the bank was established in 1853 with a capitalization of half a million dollars and operated until 1893. As a state-chartered bank, it issued its own currency notes in the years prior to the creation of federal notes. The bank was led by Caleb Barstow, who served as president from 1856 to 1874 and was remembered for his generosity. The bank's notes incorporate ships (the original Saint Nicholas was the patron saint of sailors), several images of Santa, and even one bill with early New York founder Peter Stuyvesant.
The Empire Building is a historic skyscraper building located in Manhattan’s Financial District. The building is built on the site of an office building that was constructed in 1859. Completed in 1898, the Empire Building was the headquarters of the United States Steel Corporation from the founding of the corporation in 1901 until 1976. It was designated as a New York City Landmark in June of 1996, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in August of 1998.
The American Stock Exchange Building is the former headquarters of the American Stock Exchange. Previously known as the New York Curb Exchange Building, the American Stock Exchange Building was an early hub for stock and security traders in New York City until the New York Stock Exchange became the central trading center for the city in 2008. Since then, the building has remained unused and vacant.