Building numbers on Long Wharffe

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Jul 5 23:00:43 UTC 2011

Samuel Drake, in his _The History and Antiquities of Boston ..._
(1856), writes in a footnote on pp. 536-537: "The stores on Long
wharf were early numbered. At what time buildings on the streets or
wharves were first numbered cannot, perhaps, be determined. ... In
some early instances the shops were designated by the letters of the alphabet."

Drake then goes on to describe four advertisements sufficiently that
one can search for them in EAN.  I found three of them, two in 1724
and one in 1728.  (My searches for the fourth failed to find it.)

"Mr. Adam Leyland designs to depart hence by the middle of September
next ... At whose Warehouse, E, in Dr. Cook's new buildings, at the
Head of the Long Wharffe, is good Spanish Iron to be sold, by Mr.
Thoma's Jackson."  New-England Courant, 1724 Aug. 17, 2/2.

"From 4 d. to 20 d. Nails by the Cask, to be sold reasonably by
Arthur Savage, at his Warehouse No. 6. on the Long Wharffe in
Boston."  NEC 1724 Nov. 30. 2/2.

"Choice Hook Mackrill for Bait, & very good New-England Rum, to be
Sold by Cornelius Waldo, at his Warehouse No. 17 on the Long
Wharffe."  New-England Weekly Journal 1728 Feb. 26, 2/2.

Nearly fifty years before we've found building numbers on streets in
New York City.

(Construction of Long Wharf began in 1710.  I've lost track of what
year it was completed, and buldings were then constructed over time
(initially lots were bought and sold).  Drake writes that it "was to
have a public way 'on one of its sides,' thirty feet wide, 'for the
use of the inhabitants and others forever.'"  The Wikipedia
illustration of Long Wharf shows 20 to perhaps 30 buildings on it,
depending on where one assumes land is reached and how one counts
those that fade into the distant perspective.  I counted 15 plus on
Bonner's map.)


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