James Watson House in Manhattan
The James Watson House, at 7 State Street between Pearl and Water Streets in the Financial District of Manhattan, New York City, was built in 1793 and extended in 1806, and is now the rectory of the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton. It is located near the southern tip of Manhattan Island, across from Battery Park. James Watson was the first Speaker of the New York State Assembly and a Federalist member of the New York and United States Senates. He was a Yale University graduate who became a prosperous importer-exporter. Once part of a row of late-eighteenth-century mansions, the building recalls the time when New York's merchant families lived at Manhattan's southern tip, near the river, in order to have an unobstructed harbor view and to be in close proximity to their shipping interests. At that time it was numbered 6 State Street.