Seneca Village

Human settlement in the United States of America

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Coordinates: 40°46′52″N 73°57′58″W / 40.781°N 73.966°W / 40.781; -73.966

Location of Seneca Village in Central Park

Seneca Village was a 19th-century settlement of mostly African American landowners in the borough of Manhattan in New York City, within what would become present-day Central Park. The settlement was located on about 5 acres (2.0 ha) near the Upper West Side neighborhood, approximately bounded by Central Park West and the paths of 82nd Street, 89th Street and Seventh Avenue, had they been constructed through the park.

Seneca Village was founded in 1825 by free Black Americans, the first such community in the city. At its peak, the community had 264 residents, three churches, a school, and two cemeteries. The settlement was later also inhabited by Irish and German immigrants. Seneca Village existed until 1857, when, through eminent domain, the villagers and other settlers in the area were ordered to leave and their houses were torn down for the construction of Central Park. The entirety of the village was dispersed except for one congregation that relocated.

Several vestiges of Seneca Village's existence have been found over the years, including two graves and a burial plot. The settlement was largely forgotten until the publication of Roy Rosenzweig and Elizabeth Blackmar's book The Park and the People: A History of Central Park in 1992. The Seneca Village Project was formed in 1998 to raise awareness of the village, and several archeological digs have been conducted. In 2001, a historical plaque was unveiled, commemorating the site where Seneca Village once stood.

Nearby Places

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  • Seneca Village

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