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.
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.
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