Telling the American story of the first Arabic-speaking community in the United States

Founded in 2013

Our Mission

Washington Street Historical Society (WSHS) aims to restore the forgotten history of the earliest Arabic-speaking community in the United States back into the Great American Story. Our mission is to foster education and awareness about the early Arab immigrant settlement on Washington Street in Lower Manhattan in the late nineteenth century: a neighborhood once known as the Syrian Quarter.



Al Qalam Touring App

The WSHS Touring App is a unique bilingual application that offers a virtual tour of the historic Little Syria neighborhood. In the coming year, we plan to launch an augmented reality app that will bring the history, poetry, and artwork of Little Syria to life. This app will provide additional information on the artwork of our upcoming Poets in the Park monument as well as the poets of Little Syria.

Take a journey

Learn more about Washington Street Historical society

“Al Qalam: Poets in the Park”Monument

A Memorial to the Poets of the Syrian Colony


Learn more about the history of Arab migration to the lower Washington Street neighborhood of Manhattan

Archive Gallery

Check out our library of video and still photographs, interviews, documentaries, etc.

Early Arab Immigrants in the United States

The Demise of the Washington Street Neighborhood

The article below originally appeared as an AP News item on October…
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Palestine at the Centennial Fair of 1876

On 10 May 1876, U.S. president Ulysses S. Grant opened the Centennial…
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Paris, 1913: The Arab Congress

One hundred years ago Moslems and Christians from the Middle East joined…
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Remembering the Pen Bond