Photo of the Week: Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch at Grand Army Plaza

[Soldiers and Sailors Arch, 1894], 1894, V1986.250.1.18, William Schroeder, Sr. scrapbook collection, ARC.121; Brooklyn Historical Society

[Soldiers and Sailors Arch, 1894], 1894, V1986.250.1.18, William Schroeder, Sr. scrapbook collection, ARC.121; Brooklyn Historical Society.

The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch at Grand Army Plaza was unveiled 125 years ago on October 21, 1892 to commemorate those who fought with the Union troops during The Civil War. John H. Duncan won a $1,000 prize for the design of the arch and construction began in 1889. While the war ended over 30 years earlier, the 1880s and the 1890s were at the heart of a period historians call “Reconciliation” or “Reunion” and the commemoration of the war.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that thousands of people attended the unveiling event that included remarks by Mayor Boody and several officials and religious figures. In one of the addresses, Rev. Father McCarty said, “May these memorials remind succeeding generations of the awful price we paid in the lives of the chivalry of our country for the maintenance of the union. May they be a warning that will keep the monster of rebellion from lifting again its cursed head. May our blessed land never again drink the blood of its people. May our family of powerful states become constantly more united not only by the iron hands of business interests, but by the more enduring ties of love and loyalty.” Historians estimate that upwards of 750,000 Americans died during the war.

The photo of the week depicts the Solders’ and Sailors’ arch as it appeared in 1894, two years after the unveiling. The impressive quadriga sculpture located at the top of the arch, as well as the smaller sculptures depicting soldiers and sailors mounted on pedestals, were designed by Brooklyn-based sculptor Frederick William MacMonnies and added several years later, in 1898 and 1901. This image comes from the William Schroeder, Sr. scrapbook collection comprised of three scrapbooks compiled by Dr. William Schroeder, Sr. between 1900 and 1905. He was a physician who lived on President Street in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. library@brooklynhistory.org

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One Response to Photo of the Week: Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch at Grand Army Plaza

  1. seo brooklyn says:

    Always interesting to check out our home’s historical photos. This is the first time I’ve came upon Dr. William Schroeder Sr.’s work. Thank you for sharing this post.

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