Huguenot Street, established in 1678, located in New Paltz, NY is considered the oldest street in America. Today the street consists of many historic sites. This National Historic Landmark district in New Paltz contains seven museums housed in historic buildings, a reconstructed wigwam, and so much more. It is listed as the oldest street in America with its original houses by the U.S National Park Service.
The Huguenots, a group of French Protestants who followed religious reformer John Calvin, fled France in the 17th century to escape religious persecution and outright warfare between Catholics and Protestants. Along the way, they formed a small community in upstate New York that included a street that people still live on today. Historic Huguenot Street honors the land of the Munsee Lenape people, who are the indigenous people of the region.
Preservation efforts for the oldest street in America began in the 19th century, which is why its incredible history is still so impactful today. Huguenot Street is part of a historic settlement that has been protected since 1964. This is when the land itself became a National Historic Landmark and today, in its place, exists a perfect reconstruction of 17th-century life in America. In order to appreciate the street and reconstructed village itself, though, it's important to understand how it came to be.
Often there are two other streets mentioned for the title of the oldest street in America. But neither are older than Huguenot Street. Elfreth's' Alley, built in 1702, is technically the oldest residential street in America. See our Philadelphia page for photos of Elfreth's Alley. The other, Aviles Street, in St. Augustine claims to be the oldest street in the United States. But not much of its history is recorded. Archaeologists had found pottery shards from the early 1600s by digging a couple of layers under the brick paving. Other than that (which doesn't prove that was when Aviles Street was established) the street’s origins are unknown. This makes Huguenot Street officially the oldest street of any kind in America.
Our Huguenot Street YouTube Short
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