Joseph Breintnall, “A Plain Description of One Single Street in this City,” ca. 1730s
Kerry Boyles’ Map:
Timothy Lynch’s Map:
Daniel Rowan’s Map:
At Delaware’s broad Stream, the View begin,
Where jutting Wharfs, Food-freighted Boats take in.
Then with th’ advancing Sun, direct your Eye;
Wide opes the Street, with firm Brick Buildings high:
Step, gently rising, o’er the Pebbly Way,
And see the Shops their tempting Wares display;
(Chief on the Right, screen’d from rude Winds and blest,
In Frost with Sunshine) Here, if Ails molest,
Plain surfac’d Flags, and smooth laid Bricks invite
Your tender Feet to Travel with Delight.
An Yew-Bow, Distance, from the Key built Strand,
Our Court-house front’s Caesarea’s Pine tree Land.
Thro’ the arched Dome, and on each Side, the Street
Divided runs, remote again to meet:
Here eastward stand the Traps to Obloquy,
And Petty Crimes, Stocks, Post and Pillory:
And (twice a Week) beyond, light Stalls are set
Loaded with Fruits and Fowls and Jersey’s Meat.
Westward, conjoin, the Shambles grace the Court;
Brick Piles their long extended Roof support.
Oft, West from these, the Country Wains are seen
To crowd each Hand, and leave a Breadth between:
Yet wide still (such is the City’s Care)
To Right and Left, strong Bars a Passage spare,
South of the Mart a Meeting-house is rear’d,
Where by the Friends (so call’d) is Christ rever’d;
With Stone and Brick, the lasting Walls are made
High-rais’d the Roof, and Wide the Rafters spread.
Within a Voice of this, the Presbyters
Of like Materials, have erected theirs,
Thence, half a Furlong West, declining pace,
And see the Rock-built Prison’s dreadful Face.
’Twixt, and beyond all those, near twice as far
As from a Sling a Stone might pass in Air,
The forging Shops of sooty Smiths are set,
And Wheelwrights Frames—with vacant Lots to let:
A Neighbourhood of Smoke, and piercing Dins,
From Trades, from Prison-Grates and Publick Inns.
But ev’n among this Noise, and Dirt, are plac’d
Some Buildings Fair, with peaceful Tenants grac’d,
Distant, more West, with unbuilt Grounds between,
The Furnace-House and Woods close up the Scene.
On th’ other Side (left in my Verse disjoin’d,
But all one Picture in the Poet’s Mind)
A comely Row of Tenements unite,
And set their various Goods and Works to Light;
Salesmen and Trades of decent Sorts are mixt,
(A lively place) some Tavern Signs betwixt:
Along their Doors, the clean hard Paving trends,
’Till at a plashy crossing Street it ends,
And thence, a short Arm’s Throw, renew’d tends.
Mechanicks, here, in Iron, Brass, Wood and Horn,
Their narrow Shutters, with their Wares adorn.
’Mongst those, a few tall Structures proudly rise;
Th’ adjacent Hutts look lessen’d at their Size.
Beyond, the Street is thinly wall’d, but fair,
With Gardens pale’d, and Orchards here and there
On either Side, those beauteous Prospects lie;
And some inclos’d with Hedges please the Eye.