Washington Square Arch

Vintage Images


The memorial arch on Washington Square Park was erected "To commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the inauguration of George Washington as first President of the United States (north-facing side inscription).

On April 30, 1789, George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States, in the old Federal Hall, here in New York City. In 1889, three temporary triumphal arches were built on Fifth Avenue for the centennial celebrations of the first president’s inauguration. One of them, near Washington Square, was designed by the architect Stanford White (1853-1906).

In the late 19th century and early 20th century, it looks like it was fashionable to build triumphal arches in New York, see the Dewey Arch, on Madison Square, and the Memorial Arch in Brooklyn, for example.

The white's marble Washington Square Arch was built between 1890 and 1892, not in the same site of the wooden arch, but back into the Washington Square. It was dedicated on May 4, 1895. Width 57 ft (17 m), height 73.5 ft (22.4 m) and span 30 ft (9.1 m). Other inscriptions in the Arch: "Erected by the people of the City of New York", "MDCCCLXXXIX", and, in the south-facing side, some words attributed to George Washington: "Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God".

Later, two statues of Washington were added to the north side: Washington as Commander-in Chief, Accompanied by Fame and Valor (1916), by Hermon A. MacNeil, and Washington as President, Accompanied by Wisdom and Justice (1918), by Alexander Stirling Calder.

In 2003, the arch went through a restoration to stabilize the interior and repair the marble façade.


Washington Arch


Antique photos of NYC




Stanford White



Fifth Avenue


Washington Arch, colorized photograph published by A.C. Co. 1925.


The original wooden arch of Stanford White in 1889, located on Fifth Avenue, near Washington Square (source New York Public Library). Below, a better view of the 5th Avenue with the same Arch, illustration published by Scientific American magazine, July 1889.


Memorial Arch NY


Arch Washington


Vintage images


The marble Washington Square Arch, photograph published in 1896 by Alfred S. Campbell / Elizabeth, N.J. Source: Library of Congress.


Washington Square Arch


George Washington Monument


Washington Square Arch NYC


Washington Square images


Washington Square about the 1990s.


Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch


New York


NY Fifth Avenue




Antique photographs


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Washington Square Arch