One of my major projects in the past few years was writing more than 60 episodes (4-5 mins. each) for a videoguide app on Central Park, forthcoming from Guides Who Know. For the app, I collected hundreds of images of Central Park during the 19th century. I find this year-by-year archival view fascinating, so I’m sharing it by uploading a half dozen or so images per week. See this page for links to all the pages of images.
To be notified when new images appear, follow me on Twitter @NYsculpture.
For blog posts on specific aspects of Central Park, click on Central Park in the Obsessions cloud at lower right. For an overview of the early years of the Park, see Central Park: The Early Years, which includes some of the images on these pages.
1866: Southern end of the Park
Bethesda Terrace viewed from the Ramble, with the placeholder fountain.
Photos of designs for the reliefs on the ramps of the Terrace.
Proposed animal house.
Belvedere as originally planned.
Plan for a rustic shelter for the use of children, southwest of the Mall.
1866: Northern end of the Park
Glen Span Bridge. For an earlier sketch, see 1863.
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 in the 1860s.
1867: Southern end of the Park
Bethesda Terrace’s decorations were completed by 1867.
The exquisitely elegant and colorful Music Pavilion was the center of musical performances on the Mall.
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.
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.
Elegant fountain for watering horses, at the carriage turn-around on Cherry Hill, just south of the Lake. It still stands. The much larger fountain by Mould that has been reconstructed in City Hall Park in the 1990s is a close relative.
Also on Cherry Hill: Tigress by Auguste Cain. See this post for details.
In this view of the Ramble from across the Lake, the trees are only a few years old.
The Rustic Arch in the Ramble.
1868: Northern end of the Park
The Board does seem to have a fascination with running water. “Dripping Rocks” made it to the annual report for 1868.
1868: Southern end of the Park
Working on the children’s areas. This is the boys’ playground, in the southwest corner of the Park. What is that building in the background?
1869: Southern end of the Park
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.
- This page is a work in progress: bookmark it, or follow me on Twitter @NYCsculpture to be notified when new images are added.
- Central Park: The Early Years covers Central Park from the 1850s to 1870s. Details here, or order on Amazon here.
- Want wonderful art delivered weekly to your inbox? Members of my free Sunday Recommendations list (email DuranteDianne@gmail.com) receive three art-related suggestions every week: check out my favorites from last year’s recommendations. For more goodies, check out my Patreon page.