Jim Mahar recently provided a link to this excellent History of Wall Street and the Stock Markets. from Atozinvestments.com:
Once upon a time, before New York City was a city, there really was a wall. It was built in 1644, on the lower end of Manhattan "Island" by the
Dutch to protect against British attacks. Years later, the defensive wall was gone, but the road alongside remained and was, of course, called Wall Street. We think of Wall Street as the financial center of the world, but it hasn't always been this way....
It's easily readable, and has a lot of good background. I'd even recommend it for a high school history class.