Worth Monument and Worth Square


Worth Square is situated at 25th Street, between Broadway and Fifth Avenue, west of Madison Square Park. The area was designated as a public park in 1847 as part of Madison Square Park. Since the monument was dedicated on November 25, 1857, Worth Square has served as a memorial and burial site of William Jenkins Worth (1794-1849).

William Jenkins Worth was born in Hudson, New York. He enlisted in the army with the outbreak of the War of 1812, between the United States and Great Britain. Worth was appointed first lieutenant, 23d Infantry on March 19, 1813. He was made a captain for his valor at Chippewa, and awarded the rank of major for his deeds at Niagara. In 1838, he became colonel of the Eighth Infantry. Worth became major-general, in 1846, and assumed the governorship of Puebla. He was active in the Mexican-American War (1846-48). He died in San Antonio of cholera on May 7, 1849. Throughout his life Worth was a respected military tactician, and his writings have been required reading for generations of cadets at West Point.

On June 20, 1849, the Common Council ordered that curb- and gutter-stones were set around the public place at the junction of Broadway and Fifth avenue, and trees planted in and around it. According to Stokes (Iconography of Manhattan Island, ...1926), this was the plot where the Worth Monument was built. On August 7, 1854, the Common Council decided that the remains of Major General Wm. J. Worth were interred in the ground bounded by Broadway, Fifth Avenue and 25th Street, and that a monument was erected there in his memory.

The Worth Monument was designed by James Goodwin Batterson. It  consists of a central, 51 foot-high obelisk of Quincy granite with decorative bands inscribed with battle sites significant in Worth’s career. On the front is attached a bronze equestrian relief of Worth, a decorative shield and ornament. On the back is a large bronze dedicatory plaque. Four corner granite piers support an elaborate ornamental cast-iron fence whose pickets are replicas of Worth’s Congressional Sword of Honor and which has an oak swag motif. The north side fence was removed around 1940 to accommodate an above ground utility shed which services the water supply system pipes beneath the monument. It is the second oldest monument in New York after the the 1856 George Washington equestrian monument at the southern end of Union Square. It also remains one of only two New York monuments that also serves as a mausoleum; the other is Grant’s Tomb, erected in the late 19th century.

About the late 1850s, the Worth House opened at 1 West 25th Street in front of the Worth Monument. In 1874, the building was occupied by the New York Club. In 1888 by the Madison Square Bank, the Cosmopolitan magazine, the National League of Republican Clubs headquarters and Berlitz School of Languages, which leased the upper floors. In 1918, the old Worth House Building was replaced by a six-story office building, now the Porcelanosa Building.


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Copyright © Geographic Guide - Old NYC. Historic Places.


Worth Monument


Worth Square and the junction of Fifth Avenue and Broadway, looking north from 23rd Street, about the 1860s. Fifth Avenue Hotel is on the left. Part of a stereoscopic view published by E. & H.T. Antony & Co.



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Broadway and Fifth Avenue from Madison Square. Worth Square is on the right - 1911.


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Madison Square in to the right.


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Worth Square and Madison Square - 1899.


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West side Broadway, 23rd to 25th streets Fifth Avenue Hotel, Albemarle Hotel and Hoffman House - 1899.


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Opposite view of the photo above, with Flatiron Building (vintage postcard).


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Worth Monument in 2008. Photo by Jim Henderson.