Washington Square Tombstone

091027-SWR2462

Engineer in yellow rain gear gestures towards the newly uncovered tombstone

Despite the morning rain, passersby were eager to catch a glimpse of the tombstone that was uncovered last week in the southwest quadrant of Washington Square Park. Parks workers were hard at work constructing a scaffold to protect the tombstone from the elements and ground movement. Matt Kovary, who first noticed parks people fawning over the tombstone, was on-site and happy to point out the artifact to this photographer

Although workers were tight lipped about the find and said all inquiries must go through the Parks Department Press Office, they did affirm the object is, indeed, a tombstone. Although it appears to be in excellent condition, because of it’s location and depth, some speculate it’s probably at least 200 years old.

In 1826 the City bought the land west of Minetta Creek, which at the time lay outside the City limits. The square was laid out and leveled, and it was turned into the Washington Military Parade Ground. Minetta brook, and its surrounding banks, became an underground waterway. So the notion that an 18th Century tombstone could be placed six feet, or more, beneath current-day ground level is perfectly plausible. It certainly will be interesting when the Parks Department reveals the inscription on the stone.

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