Beside the Jefferson Market Library and behind the wrought iron fence between 6th and Greenwich Avenues and 10th Street lies the Jefferson Market Garden. You probably pass by it all the time, and maybe you’ve been inside, but the story of this stretch of green space next to the library is quite fascinating.
The Jefferson Market Library building began its life as a courthouse, with construction starting in 1873. Flash forward 58 years, and in 1931 the Women’s House of Detention was built next to the library on the parcel of land that would eventually become the garden. Over the course of its existence, the Women’s House of Detention held such famous figures as Mae West and Angela Davis, among many others.
In the 1960’s, the courthouse building was saved from demolition by the collective efforts of concerned Greenwich Village residents, lead by Margot Gayle. These residents also rallied together to have the Women’s House of Detention demolished and have a public green space in its place. In 1975, under the stewardship of these empowered Village residents, Jefferson Market Garden’s first flowers bloomed.
This is only a brief history of the garden, but if you would like to learn more there will be a program this Friday, June 17th from 6 to 8 pm on in the history of Jefferson Market Garden. The program is open to GVSHP members at the $100 level or above. To learn more, be sure to visit the GVSHP website. And if you are interested in signing up, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-475-9585×25.