Do you ever get flustered trying to navigate through the village because of all the different, non-numerical street names? Well, street names are prime real estate for honoring and remembering historical people, places and things, and are a great way to bring history into our everyday lives! For Washington’s birthday, (our park’s namesake!) we are looking at streets named after four men who served under Washington in the American Revolutionary War. We know from early maps that these streets were named by 1807, long before Washington Square Park got its name in 1827.
At the beginning of the War, Nathanael Greene was a militia private, which was the lowest rank possible. By the end, he became a prominent general, second only to Washington, who considered him one of his most talented and dependable officers.
Hugh Mercer was close friends with Washington as a brigadier general in the Continental Army. Although Mercer was killed in the “Battle of Princeton,” it is thought that his sacrifice allowed Washington to win the battle, and Mercer became a fallen hero and symbol of the Revolution.
John Sullivan was a major general in the Continental Army, where he led and served in many battles. After the War, Washington nominated Sullivan as the first federal judge for New Hampshire in the United States District Court, where he served until his death.
General William Thompson was an Irish soldier from Pennsylvania, who served as a colonel and general in the Continental Army. After proving a successful leader by driving back the British in Boston, Thompson was made a brigadier-general. Although Greene, Sullivan and Mercer were held in high regards by Washington, he did not support Thompson’s promotion and he doubted Thompson’s abilities.
Who knew our neighborhood had so much Revolutionary War history in our streets!