During the 1800s, Manhattanville flourished as the West Side counterpart to its parent village of Harlem. The wide valley around present-day Broadway and 125th Street formed a unique gateway to the Hudson River between Morningside Heights and Washington Heights. Although rural, Manhattanville was the convergence of river, railroad, and stage lines, representing one of nineteenth-century New York City's most significant residential, manufacturing, and transportation hubs. However, this once-prominent upper Manhattan suburb eventually succumbed to the advent of mass transit and to the absorption of its distinctive features by the city in chase.
Manhattanville: Old Heart of West Harlem acquaints readers with the richly diverse history and lore of this famously picturesque locale. From Henry Hudson's exploration of the area's waterfront in 1609 to Gen. George Washington's conversion of its terrain into a battlefield in 1776, momentous events marked Manhattanville's crossroads long before the village streets were laid out in 1806. Readers discover later landmarks, including New York's first Episcopal church to abolish pew rentals, where patriots, Tories, and African American abolitionists convened-today, Harlem's oldest continuing congregation on the same site. The book also introduces notable Manhattanville residents, such as founders Jacob and Hannah Lawrence Schieffelin, clothier Daniel Devlin, and New York City Mayor Daniel F. Tiemann.