Here are two versions of an early view of Canal Street. The upper picture is from an 1877 Dutch book De Aarde en Haar Volken, published by Kruseman & Tjeenk of Haarlem. The colorized lower version is from a lantern slide with a German inscription. From the buildings, one assumes that the view is in the business district, but note the regularly spaced trees on the edge of the neutral ground. The streetcar tracks are in the neutral ground, to the right, on the other side of the trees. There is, of course, another roadway on the far side of the neutral ground, out of sight to the far right. The use of a light blue in the colored picture within the neutral ground suggests that the artist thought there really was a canal there (a reasonable, though false, assumption), but in fact, that is where the streetcar tracks were located. Note the large stone blocks with which the roadway was paved. These were known as ballast blocks, and were sold to the city for paving after having crossed the Atlantic aboard ships as ballast.
Previous Picture | Next Picture