Soldiers' and Sailors' Arch

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For New York's 1892 Washington Arch and the Civil War triumphal arches in Philadelphia (1876), Connecticut (1886), & the Gettysburg Battlefield (1910), see Washington Square Park, Smith Memorial Arch, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch, and Pennsylvania Monument.
Soldiers' and Sailors' Arch[1] (Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument[2])
American Civil War memorial
The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch at Grand Army Plaza.jpg
The triumphal arch at the south end of the traffic oval (foreground). To the left and right of the memorial are additional streets (not shown).
Country United States
State New York
Borough Brooklyn (New York City)
Park Prospect Park
Part of Grand Army Plaza
Nearby structures
Parts crowning sculpture
observation deck on arch
W tower w/ Navy & Grant sculptures
E tower w/ Army & Lincoln
Location center of walkway under arch
 - elevation 140 ft (42.7 m) [3]
 - coordinates 40°40′23″N 73°58′11″W / 40.672998°N 73.969842°W / 40.672998; -73.969842Coordinates: 40°40′23″N 73°58′11″W / 40.672998°N 73.969842°W / 40.672998; -73.969842 
Source: Google Maps url
Width 80 ft (24 m)
Height 80 ft (24 m)
 - archway 50 ft (15 m)
 - top of crowning sculpture 0 ft (0 m) [specify]
Depth 0 ft (0 m) [specify]
Architect John H. Duncan[4]
Style Beaux-Arts triumphal arch
Dedication 1892 Oct 21
 - Grading, cornerstone 1889 Jul,[1] 1889 Oct 10 [2]
 - Sculptures 1898 Dec 8 (crowning sculpture)[5]
1901 Apr 13 (Navy)[6]
 - Restored 1980, 2000 [citation needed]

The Soldiers' and Sailors' Arch (1889–92)[1] in Brooklyn, New York is a triumphal arch dedicated "To the Defenders of the Union, 1861-1865".[7] The eastern end with a stairway to the observation deck and crowning sculpture is open to the public, while the remainder of the interior is sometimes opened for art shows and performances.


Arch in 1894 without sculptures.
Lincoln and Grant
Crowning sculpture

An August 6, 1889, William R. Ware and Charles B. Atwood, who had been appointed by the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument Commission,selected John H. Duncan's design for the arch from 36 designs submitted the previous year.[8] In collaboration with architect Stanford White, Samuel Parsons and Calvert Vaux produced the arch[citation needed] beginning with two and a half months of site preparation; then William Tecumseh Sherman was the speaker at the 1889 cornerstone, and President Grover Cleveland lead the 1892 unveiling.[9]:tbd

The McKim, Mead and White firm recommended the bronze statues for the City Beautiful movement, and park Commissioner Frank Squire engaged Frederick MacMonnies 1894 to design the three bronze sculptural groupings. The interior arch faces have equestrian bas-reliefs of Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant sculpted by William Rudolf O'Donovan (men) and Thomas Eakins (horses), that were added in 1895.[9]:723 Also added in 1895 by sculptor Frederick MacMonnies[5] are the Army and Navy sculptures and the allegorical crowning sculpture. This sculpture depicts the winged goddess of victory, following victorious combat (the Civil War) with instruments of war: sword, colors, flagstaff, and quadriga (the Union Army). Winged attendants are seen removing 2 of the 4 quadriga horses for peacetime use (postbellum recovery) while trumpeting the victory and freedom (Emancipation).

The arch was designated a landmark in 1973,[10] and the crowning sculpture was restored after the chariot's figure fell out in 1976.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Grand Army Plaza". Historical Signs Project. 2001-12-14. Retrieved 2011-08-01. In 1866, the Plaza began to be graded and its interior paved with granite Belgian blocks and, in 1867, the Plaza’s distinctive mounds were built. Subsequent years saw the addition of gas-fueled lamps [and] trolley tracks ... construction of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch, which began in 1889. ... The Plaza’s four Doric columns were added between 1894 and 1896, the north mound was extended, the other mounds cleared and replanted, and the land around the arch paved with brick. ...statuary was added in this period, including Gouverneur Kemble Warren (1896), Henry Maxwell Tablet [sic] (1903), Alexander J.C. Skene (1905), and Henry Warner Slocum (1906). 
  2. ^ a b "Tecumseh's Warm Greeting" (ACTIVEPAPER ARCHIVE). The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. October 30, 1889. p. 6. Retrieved 2011-08-01. a silver trowel, bearing the inscription: “Used by General W. T. Sherman, U. S. A., for laying the cornerstone of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Brooklyn, N. Y., October 20, 1889.” 
  3. ^ "X_Value=-73.969842&Y_Value=40.672998". USGS Elevation Web Service Query. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2011-06-24. 
  4. ^ White, Norval; Willensky, Elliot (2000). AIA Guide to New York City (4th ed.). New York Chapter, American Institute of Architects; Crown Publishers/Random House. ISBN 0-8129-3106-8. "Inside the arch itself is more subtle work, bas-reliefs of Lincoln (Thomas Eakins) and Grant (William O' Donovan), both installed in 1895.
  5. ^ a b (December 4, 1898). "Quadriga in its Place" The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Page 31
  6. ^ (April 13, 1901). "Navy Group in Place; Arch is Now Complete" The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Page 2
  7. ^ Miller, Richard E (November 13, 2008). "Defenders of the Union" (HMDB.ORG WEBPAGE, MARKER 13548). Retrieved 2011-08-01. 
  8. ^ The three person Commission was Brooklyn Mayor Alfred C. Chapin, Aldermanic President McCarty, and Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Committee Chairman James D. Bell "Lucky Man: A New Yorker Gets the Soldier's Monument Work". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn Daily Eagle). 1889-08-06. pp. Page 4, Column 2. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  9. ^ a b White, Norval; Willensky, Elliot (2000). AIA Guide to New York City (4th ed.). New York Chapter, American Institute of Architects; Crown Publishers/Random House. ISBN 0-8129-3106-8. Inside the arch itself is more subtle work, bas-reliefs of Lincoln (Thomas Eakins) and Grant (William O' Donovan), both installed in 1895. :668
  10. ^ [1]