This path marks the route of the Kingsbridge Road, also known as the Eastern Post Road. This was the main road through Manhattan in the 1700s and early 1800s, before the current street grid was implemented, and was key to transportation in the area. Originally the route of a Native American trail known as the Wickqueasgeck Trail, the road was designated a public highway in 1669. The road originated in southern Manhattan at around today's Madison Square and proceeded north to the King's Bridge at the northern tip of Manhattan. Upon entering the Bronx, the road split, with one branch leading to Albany and the other to Boston. As these were the main roads for mail delivery and travel, they were known as post roads, and are considered the first public highways.
The Kingsbridge Road entered the future Central Park at around 95th Street and veered west to find a suitable place to cross the Harlem Creek, which flowed east into the Harlem River. The road passed through this rocky landscape and descended through McGowan's Pass, named after the McGowan family, who owned a house and tavern near the present-day site of the Park's operational area known as the Mount. The Pass, together with commanding views north from high points in the landscape, made this a highly strategic location for military defense. The British army built fortifications
in this area during the Revolutionary War, and a few decades later the American army rebuilt fortifications in some of the same locations during the War of 1812. As part of this latter effort, the Americans built a gatehouse to control access to the road and defend against a British attack from the north. In the course of restoring this landscape in 2013, the Central park Conservancy hired archaeologists to determine the impact of the project on any physical remnants of this history. The archeologists discovered the foundations of the gatehouse as well as the surface of the Kingsbridge Road, still preserved underground. These are significant findings that help us understand the history of the landscape before the park was built.