6. It has a 4,000 Gallon Cistern that Predates NYC’s Municipal Water System

Courtesy Merchant’s House Museum

In the rear yard of the Merchant’s House a 4,000-gallon cistern was discovered. In the photograph above, taken during a restoration project in the 1970s, you can see a hole in the ground that led to the cistern. This personal water supply allowed the wealthy Tredwells to have running water in their home before the municipal water system of New York City was created.

Anyone except the most financially well-off residents of New York City wouldn’t have access to a clean, reliable, municipal water source until the completion of the Croton Aqueduct and the opening of the Croton Reservoir 1842. The reservoir stood at the current site of the New York Public Library 42nd Street branch. You can still see a remnant of the reservior walls inside the library!