In 1956, the United States Congress officially named the outcrop of land surrounded by New York Bay, and home of the Statue of Liberty, Liberty Island. For almost 300 years prior to this, it was called Bedloe’s Island, for Isaac Bedloe, a Dutch colonist, merchant, and shipowner born in New Amsterdam. By the time he purchased it, the Dutch had already forced out the Lenape Indians who had used the island for seasonal hunting and fishing for hundreds of years. Because of its vast oyster beds, the Lenape called it Oyster Island.
That makes for a neat, linear history of a small holding of the Borough of Manhattan situated in the middle of New Jersey waters. There is so much more to tell.Continue reading “Love, Liberty, and Quarantine: The Story of Bedloe’s Island”