The Civic Center is located in Lower Manhattan, primarily containing administrative buildings and support facilities – Financial District in the south and Chinatown in the north; Tribeca in the west, South Street and Seaport and Two Bridges in the east. The Civic Center is more than just a gateway to the city.
Originally, because of its prosperous agricultural fields and proximity to the East River and Hudson, Lenape American Indians occupied the Civic Center location. A collection of marshes was found in the area and a large pool at Foley Square, called the “Pick” and “Pick Pond” by the early settlers. The region was so small that the Indians could migrate from the East River to the Hudson River via the Collect Team during the spring floods.
In 1609 Henry Hudson, a Dutch English explorer, went and demanded Dutch land. There was a growing colony and farming started to expand, which led to rising demand for jobs. The Netherlands West Indies agreed in 1625 to import slaves to the new colony. The Civic Center was also named the Commons. A windmill built in 1663 by Jan de Wit and Denys Hartogveldt was the first known building. The next year, New York was renamed to the colony, and the following year the State Seal was established. Farms began to expand and slavery quickly increased. To the north of the Civic Center the slaves built a burial ground.
While illegal, slaves would bury people at night to ensure that their brethren had an appropriate burial service. The Trinity Church outlawed African funeral ceremonies in 1697 because of sneaking out slaves and bigotry. And in 1773 this law was repealed. The town continued to grow and the structure of government became more strong. The local government agreed to fund the first building of public works through public financing. The Almshouse, a jail, a laboratory and a clinic, was built in 1835 as a shelter for the sick and poor.