Stanford White was the noted designer of the Washington Square Park Arch. A renowned architect, part of the illustrious firm McMead, Kim & White, he originally designed the first version of the Arch which was built in wood, half a block away from its current location, for the Centennial of George Washington’s inauguration in 1889.
The Arch was then commissioned in marble and completed in its current location (Fifth Avenue and Washington Square North) in the early 1890’s. The public itself raised the money for the Arch and it was considered a big success.
I learned a lot about the Arch preparing for my Walking Tour — Washington Square Park: Past, Present and Future: A Guide to New York City’s Redesign of a Perfect Public Space.” One of my favorite points of note is that there are thirteen wreath-encircled stars near the top of the Arch – one for each original state – alternating with “W” for Washington. Also the two sculptures on each side of the Arch (“Washington At War” and “Washington at Peace“) are of interest. To read more about them and the Washington Family coat of Arms (“exitus acta probat“), see this previous entry.
Stanford White died tragically at the age of 53.
The Armory is conducting a discussion on Stanford White tomorrow evening, Tuesday, December 9th. Here is their description:
Stanford White, Architect
By the time of his death at fifty-three, Stanford White had transformed himself into the most celebrated architects in America. He was also one of its most prolific designers, a tastemaker of such stature that Harper’s Weekly declared he should be appointed Commissioner of Public Beauty. White’s passion for beauty was accompanied by an evolving taste. Early designs, such as his collaboration on the Armory’s Veterans’ Room, embraced the generous and inventive attributes of the Aesthetic Movement, while the work of his maturity reveals the same powerful imagination applied to a more traditional classical idiom.
Samuel White Lecturer
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
643 Park Avenue, New York, NY – Phone: (212) 616-3930
Washington Square Park Task Force Meeting Report back coming later this afternoon!