Legacy of Growth

in The First Wall Street

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780226910260
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226910291 | DOI:
Legacy of Growth

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This chapter concludes with a discussion of the role that the dethroned Chestnut Street played in the economic development of the Delaware Valley in the decades leading to the Civil War. Unlike other commercial “has-beens,” however, Philadelphia thrived rather than shriveled. It did so by industrializing, by transforming itself from an American London into “the Manchester of America.” One moving force behind that profound transition was Chestnut Street, which remained the center of Philadelphia's financial district as well as its most “fashionable” street, and whose hotels, such as the Girard House, still attracted Europe's well-heeled tourists. Its rows of mature trees, fancy shops, and handsome buildings still drew Philadelphia's finest for their daily “promenade.” Most importantly for our story here, Chestnut Street's financial institutions still attracted both buyers and sellers of IOUs. Despite its demise as the nation's financial leader, Chestnut Street still existed, and was large and smart enough to finance good projects.

Keywords: economy; economic development; finance; Chestnut Street

Chapter.  7751 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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