Via Untapped Cities and THB’s read of Josh Mensch’s The First Conspiracy: The Plot to Kill George Washington:
George Washington’s campaign in New York was some of the toughest of the American Revolutionary war.
Revolution was coming. The American Continental Congress, sensing the inevitability of a break from the British Empire and the ensuing war, had called George Washington, the head of the Continental Army, to come down to New York from Boston. Even though New York’s population of 20,000 was only the seventh largest in the colonies, Washington considered the city of “infinite importance,” as British control of its ports and waterways would “stop the intercourse between the northern and southern colonies, upon which depends the safety of America.”
On April 13, 1776, Washington and his revolutionary army rolled into town.
During his stay in Manhattan, Washington stayed at a mansion at Charlton and Varick Streets in SoHo, which was pretty far uptown at the time. In contrast, most of his soldiers slummed it up, living in barracks, tents, or houses belonging to Tory (British) sympathizers who had fled town. The army itself, 20,000 strong, was drawn from across the thirteen colonies.
By day this ragtag assembly worked to fortify the city against the coming naval invasion, a major challenge, given that Manhattan is surrounded by water and the revolutionary forces lacked a navy. By night they partied in a sketchy makeshift entertainment district north of town, in present-day Washington Square Park. Drinking, prostitution and gambling ran amok in a area nicknamed “The Holy Ground.”
It turns out that
Washington’s stay in SoHo, Manhattan, is one block down the street from Adafruit HQ in New York City!
On this President’s Day, we remember President (then General) Washington’s stay so close to the present-day location of Adafruit.