Central Park: The Early Years images

This page includes some of the hundreds of images that I found while researching Central Park: The Early Years, which covers Central Park from the 1850s to 1870s. The Guides Who Know videoguide app on Central Park (in progress) covers the Park from its conception to the present.

I’ll be adding several images a week to this page. You can also find them on my Pinterest board Central Park: The Early Years. A strange array of related images is on my Pinterest board Central Park on a Tangent.

New York, 1811 and onward: the Commissioners’ Plan

North is to the right. The area in black is already built up. The areas in white were slated to be parks. The largest of those, labeled “The Parade,” is approximately where Washington Square Park is.

Commissioners’ Map of New York, 1811. Image: Wikipedia

Croton Reservoir, 1842

Central Park was originally laid out symmetrically around the original Croton Reservoir.

The Croton Reservoir, 1842. Image: New York Public Library

In this map of the Reservoir in the Manhattan street grid, north is to the right: the reservoir ended at 86th Street, where a few pieces of its wall are still visible behind the NYPD precinct. The rock at the left (southwest) is where the Belvedere now stands.

Croton Reservoir in the Manhattan street grid, 1842. Image: Library of Congress

1848: New York

1848 Mitchell Map of New York City. The residential area has spread from what’s now the Financial District north to the 20s.

1848: Broadway from St. Paul’s Church – looking south toward Trinity Church.

Choosing a site and a plan for the Park

1847: Sketch of part of the area that became the south end of Central Park.

1853: Possible sites for the park

1853 map showing two possible locations for a park in Manhattan: Jones Park, on the East River, and The Central Park, symmetrical around the original Croton Reservoir.

1857

Egbert Ludovicus Viele’s topographical sketch of Central Park, published in the report of the Board of Commissioners for 1857. The Board’s first annual report is here on Google, here on the New York City Parks Department’s site, but neither one includes a scan of this and the following map; I’ve scanned this one from Heckscher’s Creating Central Park.

More on Viele in this post.

Egbert Ludovicus Viele’s topographical sketch of the area chosen for Central Park. Published in the report of the Board of Commissioners of the Central Park for 1857.

Egbert Ludovicus Viele’s plan for Central Park. Published in the report of the Board of Commissioners of the Central Park for 1857.

Viele’s report to the Board of Commissioners, published in their Annual Report for 1857, included three sweeping views. This one shows the view west from Summit Rock, where the Belvedere now stands (79th Street). The original reservoir is to our right (north).

View from Summit Rock looking west, from Viele’s report to the Board of Commissioners, published in their Annual Report for 1857.

This is the view from Bellevue Rock looking north. That’s Mount St. Vincent in the center (around 106th St.). I haven’t pinned down the location of Bellevue Rock. Viele’s report says only:

All through the upper portions of the park, superb views may be obtained from prominent points: Vista rock, Summit rock, Mount Prospect, Bellevue rock, and Mount St. Vincent, embrace views of the Hudson and East rivers, the entire city, Long Island, and Long Island Sound … a complete panorama of New York city and its suburbs. Three of these views accompany this report.” (Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners, 1857, p. 42)

View from Bellevue Rock looking north, from Viele’s report to the Board of Commissioners, published in their Annual Report for 1857.

The third view in the 1857 Annual Report is from Mt. Prospect. That’s Mt. St. Vincent in the center again, so perhaps Mt. Prospect is the site now called the Great Hill, on the west side of the Park at about 106th Street.

View from Mt. Prospect looking east, from Viele’s report to the Board of Commissioners, published in their Annual Report for 1857.

Viele also included a cross-section of the Park from Eighth to Fifth Avenues, which serves as a reminder of how difficult the terrain was.

Cross section of Central Park, from Viele’s report to the Board of Commissioners, published in their Annual Report for 1857.

1857-1858: Competition for a plan for the Park

In 1857, the Board of Commissioners ran this ad seeking plans for Central Park.

Advertisment for the competition for plans for Central Park, from the New York Herald, 1858.

1858: The Greensward Plan

The original Greensward Plan is about 10 feet long. When I last queried the Parks Department, it was scheduled to be repaired and made available as a digital file. Until that happens, here’s a photo of it as shown in Heckscher’s Creating Central Park – an excellent book that you should definitely read if you’re interested in the early history of the Park.

Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted, Greensward Plan (south end), 1858. From Heckscher, Creating Central Park.

Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted, Greensward Plan (north end), 1858. From Heckscher, Creating Central Park.

The woodcut version published in the New York Times  on 5/1/1858 is easier to read.

Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted, Greensward Plan, 1858. As shown in the New York Times, 5/1/1858

1858: Another entry in the competition

By March 1858, the deadline for the competition, a total of 35 plans were submitted to the Board of Commissioners. The symmetry of this one is hilarious, given the wildly varied terrain of the site of Central Park.

Rink’s plan for Central Park, 1858.

1858: work completed in the Park

The Second Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners of Central Park, covering 1858, published in 1859 (here on Google, here on the NYC Parks Dept. site) illustrated the Balcony Bridge, on the west side at 77th Street. I haven’t been able to figure out from reading the Report whether it had been constructed, or this was a proposal. I’m inclined to think it’s a proposal, since the trees and other plantings wouldn’t have been in place in 1858.

Balcony Bridge, on the west side of the Park near 77th Street. Second Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners, published January 1859.

1859: Mount Saint Vincent

The Sisters of Charity of Mount Saint Vincent (est. 1846) established their motherhouse at McGowan’s Pass, roughly 103rd Street near Fifth Avenue. In 1859, after the land it sat on was taken for Central Park, the Sisters moved their home to Riverdale. The former convent was used as a restaurant and statuary gallery until it burned down in 1866. The Mount Saint Vincent Hotel (a.k.a. McGowan’s Pass Tavern) was constructed on the site in 1884 (we’ll get to that in a while) and razed in 1917: nothing of the buildings is left now but a few foundation stones. See the excellent article by Daytonian in Manhattan.

Mount Saint Vincent, 1861. Image: New York Public Library

Mount Saint Vincent, 1858. Image: New York Public Library

Statuary Hall in the chapel of the former Mount Saint Vincent, 1860s. Image: New York Public Library

1859: Construction

The Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners for 1859 (published in 1860) included these north-south cross-sections at Sixth and Seventh Avenues. They give a vivid idea of what those constructing the Park had to deal with.

Cross-sections of the Park at Sixth and Seventh Avenues. Third Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners, published January 1860.

The construction of the Park was such a major event that prints of it were published. This one shows construction of the Mall (Promenade). The Arsenal is behind the trees toward the left.

Construction of Central Park, 1859. Print at New York Public Library.

Construction of Central Park, 1859. Print at New York Public Library.

Work on the southern end of the Park was well underway by 1859, when the map below was drawn. The Extension (106th to 110th Streets) is marked off with a dotted line: the land wasn’t actually purchased until 1863. A formal garden is sketched in where Conservatory Water now stands, just north of 72nd Street. The large space between the 79th and 86th Street Transverses, and between the old reservoir and Fifth Avenue, is empty. For a while it was home to a herd of deer. In the 1870s, it was allotted to the Metropolitan Museum (more here).

1859 map of Central Park. Image: New York Public Library Digital Collections

This illustration from the report of the Board of Commissioners for 1859 shows Bethesda Terrace (still under construction in 1862) with a simple fountain on the site of the future Angel of the Waters (dedicated in 1873). The illustration is signed by Jacob Wrey Mould, who was responsible for many of the ornamental details in Central Park.

Illustration from the report of the Board of Commissioners of Central Park for 1859.

View of Central Park in 1859, probably looking south from where the Belvedere now stands.

Central Park, 1859. Image: Museum of the City of New York

1859: Bridges

The Third Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners of Central Park, covering 1859, published in 1860 (here on Google, here on the NYC Parks Dept. site) illustrated more bridges. As with the previous year’s report, these seem to be sketches of the bridges as they’ll eventually look, rather than bridges that had already been constructed. See, for example, the “Description” in the Report on p. 34.

Marble Arch separated pedestrians from vehicles at the south end of the Mall. There’s a great early pic of it in situ here. Under Robert Moses, it was smashed to bits and buried. He surely got things done, did Mr. Moses. More on Marble Arch here.

Marble Arch (now destroyed) separated pedestrians from vehicles at the south end of the Mall. Third Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners, published January 1860.

Dalehead Arch carries the West Drive over the bridle path near the present-day Heckscher Ballfields.

Glade Arch is east of the Ramble.

Glade Arch, east of the Ramble. Third Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners, published January 1860.

The cast-iron Pinebank Arch carries pedestrians over the bridle path in the southwest part of the Park.

Pinebank Arch, carrying pedestrians over the bridle path in the southwest part of the Park. Third Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners, published January 1860.

The cast-iron Bow Bridge carries pedestrians from the area near the Mall across the Lake to the Ramble. Olmsted and Vaux, who designed the Park as a pastoral retreat, wanted visitors to take their time strolling around the Lake in order to reach the Ramble. The Board of Commissioners, however, often favored the Park as a meeting place and center of culture. They demanded a shortcut from the Mall to the Ramble. That’s why we have the elegant, cast-iron Bow Bridge  (For more on the bridges added to the Greensward Plan, see Central Park: The Early Yearschapter 5.)

Bow Bridge, carrying pedestrians from the Mall across the Lake to the Ramble. Third Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners, published January 1860.

The Green Gap Arch carried the East Drive over the bridle path near 59th Street. The path is now closed off.

Green Gap Arch originally carried the East Drive over the Bridle Path. Third Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners, published January 1860.

Denesmouth Arch carries the 65th Street Transverse above pedestrians, near the (much later) Zoo. According to Forgotten-NY: “It used to feature four ornate castiron lampposts, three of which were stolen; the 4th is in safekeeping somewhere.”

Denesmouth Arch carries the 65th St. Transverse over pedestrians. Third Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners, published January 1860.

This is a sketch for one of the transverse roads, designed to carry commercial traffic across the Park.

Sketch for one of the transverse roads carrying commercial traffic across the Park. Third Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners, published January 1860.

You may think you recognize this one, but you don’t.

Oval Arch separated pedestrians from horseback riders near 61st Street and 7th Avenue. Third Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners, published January 1860.

Oval Arch, in the southwest corner of the Park, separated pedestrians from the bridle path. Robert Moses demolished it in order to enlarge the playground that became the Heckscher Ballfields.

The Oak Bridge is on the west side of the Ramble, roughly at 77th Street.

Oak Bridge, west side of the Ramble near 77th Street. Third Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners, published January 1860.

Rustic Arch is also on the west side of the Ramble.

Rustic Arch, on the west side of the Ramble. Third Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners, published January 1860.

A rustic-style bridge in the Ramble.

Rustic bridge in the Ramble. Third Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners, published January 1860.

And the heart of the Park: Bethesda Terrace, viewed from across the Lake. The Terrace was completed in the mid-1860s, but the Angel of the Waters fountain wasn’t dedicated until 1873.

Looking south from the Ramble and the Lake at Bethesda Terrace. Third Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners, published January 1860.

1859: The Park’s first sculpture

By 1855, New York had a thriving population of German immigrants: only Berlin and Vienna had larger German-speaking populations. Among the events in New York celebrating the centennial of Friedrich Schiller’s birth was the dedication of this sculpture. But sculptures didn’t quite fit the pastoral vibe that Olmsted and Vaux were trying to create in the park; they tucked Schiller away in the Ramble. It has only been in its present site, near Beethoven and the Naumburg Bandshell, since 1955. 

C.L. Richter, Schiller, 1859. Original location in the Ramble, Central Park (1860s?). Image: New York Public Library

1860: Ordinances

In their Fourth Annual Report (1860, published in January 1861), the Board of Commissioners of the Central Park set out 4 pages of rules and regulations for the Park that give a vivid image of what was going on in the Park in its early years. For example, so many stray animals were captured and put in the Park’s pound that a minimum price for the sale of horses, dogs, goats, swine, sheep and geese was set. The Board also had strong words to say about fireworks, fortune-telling, perambulators … Who’d have suspected our ancestors of such shenanigans?

The Fourth Annual Report has no illustrations.

Ordinances of Central Park, from the Board of Commissioners’ Annual Report for 1860 (published 1861). Page 106

Ordinances of Central Park, from the Board of Commissioners’ Annual Report for 1860 (published 1861). Page 107

Ordinances of Central Park, from the Board of Commissioners’ Annual Report for 1860 (published 1861). Page 108

Ordinances of Central Park, from the Board of Commissioners’ Annual Report for 1860 (published 1861). Page 109

1861

The Greywacke Arch is just west of where the Metropolitan Museum now stands.

Greywacke Bridge, from the Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners of Central Park for 1861.

Plan for a proposed conservatory, which never rose above its foundations, but gave its name to Conservatory Water near 72nd Street. (Didn’t you ever wonder why that pond had that name?)

View of a proposed conservatory. Fifth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1862.

Proposed wooden music pavilion designed by Jacob Wrey Mould. Erected in 1862, it stood near where the Naumburg Bandshell is today. More pics soon. The last image I could find of it was ca. 1916: it seems to have disintegrated.

Proposed music pavilion for the north end of the Mall, designed by Jacob Wrey Mould. Fifth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1862.

The Arbor, at the northeast end of the Mall.

Shaded seat near the Ramble.

Shaded seat southeast of the Ramble. Fifth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1862.

A shaded seat southwest of the Ramble.

A shaded seat southwest of the Ramble. Fifth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1862.

Rustic frame for Park regulations.

Rustic frame for Park regulations. Fifth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1862.

Boat landing on the Lake.

Boat landing on the Lake. Fifth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1862.

1861: Infrastructure

These are from the annual report of the Board of Commissioners (their fifth), reporting on 1861, published 1862.

Transverse Road 2 is at 79th Street. Bridges over the transverses do not have cool names: this one is just “Bridge E”.

Bridge E over Transverse Road 2. Fifth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1862.

Cross-section of a gravel road.

Cross section of a gravel road, 1861. Fifth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1862.

Structure of the carriage roads.

Structure of the carriage roads in Central Park, 1861. Fifth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1862.

Sketch for part of the wall around Central Park. For more on the walls and gates, search those terms below, and see the three posts beginning here on the naming of the gates.

Sketch for a section of wall around Central Park. Fifth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1862.

Part of the mechanism for keeping the Lake clean.

Depositing chambers and filter on the west side of the Lake, 1861. Fifth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1862.

1862: north end of the Park

Glen Span takes the West Drive over a pedestrian pathway at about 102nd Street, east of the Pool and west of the Loch. According to the Central Park Conservancy’s site, the bridge was constructed in 1865; twenty years later, for maintenance reasons, the wooden sections were replaced with stone, making it look quite different today (image here).

Original Glen Span bridge. Sixth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1863.

Cast-iron bridge by the new Reservoir to carry pedestrians over the bridle path. It’s known as “Bridge No. 28” or the “Gothic Bridge, for the pointed arches used in its design.

Bridge 28, a.k.a. the “Gothic Bridge.” Sixth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1863.

1862: in the Ramble

The Ramble, with Bethesda Terrace and the Mall in the center distance. Now that the trees have had 150 years to grow, this view is no longer possible.

The Ramble. Image: New York Public Library

In the Ramble: the mouth of the cave near the Rustic Arch. The cave was closed to visitors long ago.

The cave and the Rustic Arch in the Ramble, 1862. Image: New York Public Library

I can’t remember if this Evergreen Walk was actually built or not: sometimes the Board of Commissioners’ annual reports show projects planned rather than finished. “East of the Ramble” could mean anywhere between 72nd and 79th Streets, between Fifth Avenue and the East Drive.

Evergreen Walk. Sixth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1863.

Rustic boat landing on the Lake.

Rustic boat landing on the Lake. Sixth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1863.

1862: Southern end of the Park

The men most responsible for Central Park, captured by French photographer Victor Prevost.

Willowdale Bridge, near the Mall and Balto, 1862. Left to right: Andrew Haswell Green, George Waring Jr. (?), Calvert Vaux, Ignaz Anton Pilat, Jacob Wrey Mould, Frederick Law Olmsted. Photo by Victor Prevost.

The figure by the pillar of Bethesda Terrace is either Jacob Wrey Mould or French photographer Victor Prevost.

Bethesda Terrace, 1862. The man standing next to the pillar is either Jacob Wrey Mould or Victor Prevost, a French photographer.

Construction of Bethesda Terrace.

Construction of Bethesda Terrace, 1862. Photo by Victor Prevost.

Plan of Bethesda Terrace and the north end of the Mall. North is to the left.

Plan of Bethesda Terrace and the north end of the Mall. Sixth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1863.

I assume these dove-cots were in the southern part of the Park.

Dove-cot. Sixth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1863.

Dove-cot and enclosure. Sixth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1863.

Sketch of Calvert Vaux’s proposed Casino, a restaurant for ladies northeast of the Mall, where the SummerStage now stands. See my post on Vaux.

Calvert Vaux, design for proposed Casino. Sixth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1863.

1862: Central Park and the Civil War

Union soldiers drilling in front of the Arsenal, before being sent off to the front line. For more on the Arsenal’s history, see this post.

Union troops drilling at the Arsenal, 1862. Image: New York Public Library

1863

The west side of the Arsenal, ca. 1863-1865. This large open area is now occupied by the zoo.

The Arsenal, ca. 1863-1865. Image: Wikipedia

1863: Infrastructure

The walls around Central Park and the gates to allow entry were a subject of much debate. On the names finally chosen, see the three posts starting here.

Method for constructing the walls around the perimeter of Central Park, from the Report of the Board of Commissioners, 1863.

Cast-iron curb and grating for road drainage. Seventh annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1864.

During the early years of the Park, a fire tower stood where Belvedere Castle was later built. Here it is looming over the tunnel in the 79th Street Transverse.

Seventy-Ninth Street Transverse and the fire tower, 1863-1865. Image: New York Public Library

1863: Bridges

The Southeast Reservoir Bridge carries pedestrians over the bridle path south of the Reservoir and just west of Fifth Avenue, near 86th Street.

Southeast Reservoir Bridge. Seventh annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1864.

The Winterdale Arch carries the West Drive over the bridle path at about 82nd Street.

Winterdale Arch. Seventh annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1864.

Trefoil Arch takes pedestrians under the East Drive near the Boathouse.

Trefoil Arch. Seventh annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1864.

Boat landing on the Lake, with the Bow Bridge in the background.

Boat landing northeast of the lake. Seventh annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1864.

1863: Sculpture and ornament

Tile ornament for the ceiling of the tunnel leading to Bethesda Terrace.

Tile ceiling ornament for the tunnel leading to Bethesda Terrace. Seventh annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1864.

Eagles and Prey, by Christophe Fratin, was created in 1850 and donated to Central Park in 1863. The Commissioners, who were having problems with roving goats eating the plantings, probably found the sculpture grimly amusing: see this post. It still stands just west of the Mall.

Christophe Fratin, Eagles and Prey, 1850; erected in Central Park in 1863. Image: New York Public Library

Christophe Fratin, Eagles and Prey, 1850; erected in Central Park in 1863. Image: New York Public Library

The Board of Commissioners’ report for 1864 (published in 1865) reported that the Casino opened in early 1864; so this illustration from the 1863 report is either work in progress or still wishful thinking.

The Casino. Seventh annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1864.

1864: South end of the Park

Concept for the Bethesda Fountain. It wasn’t dedicated until 1873, although the sculpture was completed a few years earlier.

Concept sketch of Bethesda Fountain. Eighth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1865.

From an early guidebook: Perkins, The Central Park, 1864: gawky adolescent elm trees on the Mall, looking north toward the Arbor. The Naumburg Bandshell now blocks this view.

The Mall looking north toward the Arbor. Perkins, The Central Park, 1864.

A bird cage near the Mall – given the style, probably the work of Jacob Wrey Mould.

Bird cage on the Mall, 1864. Eighth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1865.

Drinking fountain – probably also Jacob Wrey Mould’s work.

Drinking fountain. Eighth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1865.

1864: Lake and Ramble

Two landings on the Lake.

Boat landing on west shore of the Lake. Eighth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1865.

Boat landing on the south side of the Ramble (north side of the Lake). Eighth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1865.

Rustic Arch in the Ramble, which carries one pedestrian path over another.

Ramble Arch. Eighth annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1865.

1864: Bridges

The Bow Bridge, from  an early guidebook: Perkins, The Central Park, 1864.

The Bow Bridge, from Perkins, The Central Park, 1864.

Playmates Arch, near where the Carousel now stands, carries the East Drive over a footpath.

Playmates Arch. Seventh annual report of the Board of Commissioners, published 1864.

In 1864, when Central Park was six years old, Louis Prang published a set of chromolithographic cards, each 4.25 x 2.5 inches. They provide a fascinating glimpse not only at what the Park looked like at the time, but at what its highlights were considered to be. I spotted a set of these cards in a catalogue of William Reese Company a few years back; Mr. Reese was kind enough to send me photos.

Alas for you, WordPress doesn’t approve of high-res uploads. These are printed full-page at the end of my Central Park: The Early Yearsand also used on the covers.

In the set below, left to right and top to bottom:

  • The Island, The Rustic Bridge, Entrance to Cave, The Lake
  • Rustic Arbor, The Brook, Moonlight on the Lake, Cascade
  • The Arch, The Ramble, Boat Landing, Marble Bridge [sic, for Bow Bridge!] over the Lake

Louis Prang, chromolithographed cards of Central Park, 1864. Photos courtesy WIlliam Reese Company

In the set below, left to right and top to bottom:

  • Rude Stairway, Abode of the Swans, The Silver Lake, Entrance to Cave from Lake
  • The Tower [the firetower, where the Belvedere now stands, seen from the edge of the original Croton Reservoir], Ornamental Bridge, The Drive, The Bridle Path
  • The Music Temple [formerly near the north end of the Mall], Sunset on the Lake, Rustic Arbor, A Glimpse of the Lake

Louis Prang, chromolithographed cards of Central Park, 1864. Photos courtesy WIlliam Reese Company

In the set below, left to right and top to bottom:

  • The Marble Bridge [i.e., Marble Arch, formerly at the south end of the Mall, now gone], Vine Arbor, Bust of Schiller, The Fountain [a figurative sculpture was always intended for Bethesda Terrace, but Angel of the Waters wasn’t dedicated until nine years after the Prang postcards were published]
  • On the Ramble, near the Lake; Fancy Bridge No. 14; The Casino [formerly near the northeast end of the Mall, now gone], Bridge at the 7th Avenue Entrance
  • The Cove, Rustic Bower, Rustic Arbor, Evening on the Lake

Louis Prang, chromolithographed cards of Central Park, 1864. Photos courtesy WIlliam Reese Company

1865

Map of Central Park in 1865. To zoom in, see it on the David Rumsey Map Collection site.

Central Park, 1865. L. Prang & Co. Image: David Rumsey Map Collection

Famed architect Richard Morris Hunt’s plan for updating the Arsenal into a home for the New-York Historical Society.

Richard Morris Hunt’s plan for refurbishing the Arsenal, 1865. Image: Heckscher, Creating Central Park

The famous “Sanitary & Topographical Map of the City and Island of New York” was published in 1865 by Egbert Ludovicus Viele. The “Viele Map” shows Manhattan’s original streams, marshes and coastline, with the city grid superimposed. Those planning new buildings in the 21st century still consult the Viele Map. The blue rectangle roughly in the center is the old reservoir, at the center of Central Park. More on Viele in this post.

The Viele Map, 1865. Image: David Rumsey Map Collection

One of the lost sculptures of Central Park: Commerce, originally placed near the Merchants’ Gate at the intersection of Broadway, Central Park West, and 59th Street.

Commerce, near the Merchants’ Gate in Central Park. Image: Report of the Board of Commissioners of Central Park for 1865 (published 1866).

1866

Bethesda Terrace viewed from the Ramble, with the placeholder fountain.

View of Bethesda Terrace and the Mall from the Lake, 1866. The simple fountain was replaced with Angel of the Waters in 1873.

The Blockhouse (far left) and view of Harlem Heights. The Extension (106th to 110th Streets) was purchased in part because of the historical associations of the Blockhouse: more on that in a blog post soon. (Search this site to see if I’ve gotten to it yet.) The land for the Extension  was purchased in 1863.

The Blockhouse and the view of Harlem Heights, 1866. Image: InternetBookArchive

The Blockhouse in the 1860s.

The blockhouse in the 1860s. Image: New York Public Library

1867

The Mineral Water Pavilion at the northwest edge of the Sheep Meadow was in a colorful Moorish style: see the fabulous write-up (with photos) by Daytonian in Manhattan. This drawing appeared in the annual report of the Board of Commissioners of Central Park in 1867, while the pavilion was still in the planning stage. The pavilion was razed in 1957, under Robert Moses.

Mineral Water Pavilion, 1867. Annual report of the Board of Commissioners 1867.

The Dairy opened in Central Park in the late 1860s. This drawing appeared in the annual report of the Board of Commissioners of Central Park in 1868, while it was still in the planning stage. On the Dairy and the “Swill Milk Scandal,” see my post on ForgottenDelights.com. For more on the Dairy’s history, see Daytonian in Manhattan.

The Dairy, 1868. Annual report of the Board of Commissioners of Central Park, 1869.

1869

Tigress and Cubs, by Auguste Cain, was placed on Cherry Hill in 1866. For the peacock joke and Clarence Cook’s thoughts on Tigress, see this post.

Auguste Cain, Tigress and Cubs, placed in Central Park in 1866. Image: A Description of the New York Central Park, 1869

 

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