The Speyer School: Part I. Its History and Purpose: The Environment of the School
by James E. Russell & Jesse D. Burks - 1902
III THE ENVIRONMENT OF THE SCHOOL 1. THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND The Speyer School is in the center of a district rich in historical association and in contemporary interest. Between Harlem (now Washington) Heights on the north and Bloomingdale (now Morningside) Heights on the south, lies the Manhattanville depression, known in Colonial days as the "Hollow Way." At the foot of 130th street was a little cove in the Hudson river where the "landing" was located. On the tide land skirting this cove, was "Matje David's Vly," or salt meadow, the curious name of which points unmistakably back to the period of Dutch settlement. This "Round Meadow" and "Harlem Cove," as the little bay was called in later days, have long since disappeared in the process of filling in and straightening out the river front. Associations with the Revolutionary War The region in and about the valley where the school is located formed the arena of one of the dramatic events of the Revolutionary War. After the abandonment of Long Island and the subsequent evacuation of lower New York, Washington's forces, followed closely by those of Lord Howe, retreated up Manhattan Island, resolved to hold at least the northern end of the island. By the evening of September 15, 1776, the last of the American Army had taken up a strong position on Harlem Heights, concealed by woods and knolls and protected by the rocky heights rising abruptly from the Hollow Way.
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