A Brief History: Washington Square Park was named after our first President George Washington, who was the Commander in Chief, of the Continental Army, during the Revolutionary War 1776 – 1781.  In 1789 George Washington was inaugurated as President of the United States in New York City. 

In the 1700s the park was actually a marshland, which was located by the Indian Village Sapokinkan, which means “tobacco field”.  The Indians turned the marshland into farmland and used the land to live off of.  The city purchased the land in 1797, and turned it into a potter’s field, which was mainly for poor people who couldn’t afford a proper tombstone.  The potter’s field was also used for people that had past away from yellow fever.  There are over 20,000 people buried at this very site.  The potter’s field was also used as an execution spot were they had gallows there for public executions.  In 1827 the land was finally turned into a park.  Samuel F.B. Morse showed the first public demonstration of the telegraph here in 1835.  In 1890 the marble arch was built by Stanford White. 

Today the park is now used by many people who play different table games such as chess, bocce ball, and many types of people enjoy the park on a daily basis such as local residents, students, chess players, tourists, and usually everyday you may catch a street performance by many different individuals. 

 Haunted History:  There have been many claims of people feeling a cold breeze go right through them on a hot summer day.  There have also been claims of seeing people in period clothing and just disappear.  Some people also claim to hear sounds of gasping for air while sitting in the park late at night.  




Return To Previous Page