Order of the Good Write

That Magic Feeling When the Words Flow. A Blog by Debi Rotmil

The “hangman’s elm” of Washington Square Park

Leave a comment

I’ve always been fascinated by the Hanging Tree in Washington Square park.

Ephemeral New York

Was the gorgeous elm tree at the northwest corner of Washington Square Park (at left in 1936) used for public executions?

It’s a legend passed down over the years.

On one hand, a Parks Department web link seems to imply that people were indeed hanged from the 110-foot tree, estimated to be at least 300 years old.

“The [sic] English elm (Ulmus procera) at the corner of Waverly Place and MacDougal Street acquired its reputation during the American Revolutionary War,” the site explains. “According to legend, traitors were hung from its branches.”

In 1797, the city acquired the land for a potter’s field. “The field was also used for public executions, giving rise to the tale of the Hangman’s Elm. . . ” another Parks Department link states.

In 1824, the Marquis de Lafayette, visiting from France, supposedly witnessed the hanging of 20 highwaymen here in 1824.

Newgate…

View original post 104 more words

Advertisements

Author: Debi Rotmil

I'm Debi Rotmil. I'm the author of the book "Hitting Water: A Book of Stories" and founder of The Good Write. I write, eat, walk the dog, write, blog, jog, spin. I work everyday to try and change the world in my own way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s