Ft.Greene Park; almost Spring

It may officially still be Winter, but don’t tell that to the flowers….

Ft.Greene Park was established as Brooklyn’s first park in 1847 and is named after a Revolutionary War era fort that was built in 1776 under the supervision of General Nathanael Greene.

After the war locals enjoyed visiting the grounds of the old fort for recreation. Brooklyn resident, and at the time editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Walt Whitman rallied popular support for a park.  He appealed for a pleasant retreat for city dwellers, “a place of recreation. . .where, on hot summer evenings, and Sundays, they can spend a few grateful hours in the enjoyment of wholesome rest and fresh air.”

In 1867 landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, designers of Central Park, were hired to prepare a new design for the park and a crypt for the remains of the Revolutionary War prison ship martyrs.

1880 monument

During the war thousands of American “rebels” were held in deplorable conditions on British prison ships anchored in nearby Wallabout Bay. Over 11,000 prisoners died on the ships, their bodies thrown overboard or buried in shallow graves along the shore.

The renowned architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White was hired in 1905 to design a new entrance to the crypt with a wide granite stairway leading to a plaza on top of the hill and at the center, a freestanding Doric column crowned by a bronze lantern; President-elect William Howard Taft attended the monument’s dedication in 1908.

photo taken from the old elevated train platform

They also built the neoclassical comfort station (now the visitor center)

view from the plaza

from the top of the steps

and from street level

The playground was redesigned in 1995 and includes stone pillars featuring bronze plaques that identify the state trees and animals of the original thirteen colonies.

etchings courtesy of  Fort Greene Park Conservancy

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About Denise P. Puchol

Always carrying a pocket camera to photograph random spots throughout the five boroughs of New York City and to share a little of the history.
This entry was posted in photographs of historic building and sites in the five boroughs of New York City and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Ft.Greene Park; almost Spring

  1. Brian says:

    Ha! You beat me to it. I have long been planning a post almost exactly like this one. The history of Ft. Greene Park and the prison ship martyrs is another thing I discovered last summer while working for NYC Parks and Recreation.

    Nice job!

  2. Brian — I’ll look forward to seeing your post, will be interesting to see your photos & angle!

  3. mthew says:

    I like that state metalwork! haven’t noticed it before, probably because I don’t hand around playgrounds (I’m strange that way). Be on the look out there for nesting American Kestrels, who last year favored a rotten old cornice on awkwardly named Washington Park street.

    • M- well I’m sure you already know the park was originally named washington park and there’s already a washington ave. in the area so…..
      I’ve got to start carrying binoculars &/or a telephoto to spot the birds — most of my excursions aren’t planned so it’s the ol’ pocket camera.

  4. Nice park. Love the flower photos.

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