Machine Guns in the Financial District

New Yorkers had a troublesome habit of rioting every so often.  They rioted over the price of flour in 1837, over upper class snobbery in 1849, and the draft in 1863.  Just to keep in practice, the police rioted amongst themselves in 1857, in the great New York City Police Riot.  All these riots made the U.S. Government a bit nervous; after all, there were all sorts of money stored in the New York Sub-Treasury building at 26 Wall Street.  So what did Uncle Sam do? He put turrets on the roof, threw a couple of Gatling Guns inside.  To make doubly sure no pesky rioters got close to all that gold, iron shutters were installed, complete with loop holes, through which loyal troops could pick off the masses.

By the way, the Subtreasury building is still there. It is now Federal Hall, with the big statue of Washington out front. Next time you’re there, ask ‘em to let you have a try with the Gatling Guns.

Images from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, April 08, 1881


 

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