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Cadman Plaza Park

Brooklyn War Memorial map_it

History

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This granite and limestone memorial in Brooklyn’s Cadman Plaza is dedicated to the 300,000 American men and women who served in World War II. The memorial was designed by Stuart Constable, Gilmore D. Clarke, and W. Earle Andrews, who worked in concert with the architectural firm of Eggers and Higgins. The two larger-than-life sized high relief figures by sculptor Charles Keck (1875”“1951) depict a male warrior on the left and a female with a child to the right, and serve as symbols of victory and family.

The idea for a large-scale borough monument was based on Parks Commissioner Robert Moses’s (1888”“1981) desire to create unified World War II monuments for each borough in the hope to avoid the situation that arose after World War I when many scattered small-scale pieces were erected throughout the city. In the end, Brooklyn was the only borough to build such a monument. On June 6, 1944, the day U.S. forces stormed the beaches of Normandy, France (D-Day), Brooklyn Eagle publisher Frank D. Schroth formed a committee of distinguished Brooklynites to judge a design competition. The Eagle announced the competition in June, soliciting proposals from a wide array of people. When the contest closed on April 1, 1945 – before VE (Victory in Europe) Day – over 243 entries were received. The winning plan featured a central auditorium flanked by two wings built entirely of granite. Construction of the memorial began just after Japan surrendered in August 1945.

The memorial was dedicated November 12, 1951 at an elaborate ceremony attended by elected officials and veterans groups. Due to lack of funding, the full plan was never built. The scaled-back version of the memorial consists of a memorial hall with an honor roll listing the names of those who died serving during the war. The memorial was intended to be part of a larger plan to revitalize this area of Brooklyn, which included the Brooklyn Civic Center building, new municipal facilities, and expanded housing opportunities.

Sculptor Keck is known for his statue of Father Francis P. Duffy (1936) in Manhattan’s Duffy Square, the Governor Alfred E. Smith Memorial (1946) in Manhattan, and the Sixty-first District Memorial (1922) in Brooklyn’s Greenwood Playground. The Brooklyn War Memorial was restored in 1977 and today serves as a community facility for veterans’ groups and arts organizations as well as a memorial to those who defended the principle of freedom during the war.

Photo of the Brooklyn War Memorial in Cadman Plaza Brooklyn

Brooklyn War Memorial Details

  • Sculptor: Charles Keck
  • Architect: Eggers and Higgins
  • Description: Building adorned by two large figures (heroic scale), one at either end of front façade
  • Materials: Limestone
  • Dimensions: Each figure H: 24'
  • Cast: ca. 1951
  • Dedicated: 1951
  • Donor: Contributions by firms and individuals
  • Inscription: THIS MEMORIAL DEDICATED / TO THE HEROIC MEN AND WOMEN OF THE
    BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN / WHO FOUGHT FOR LIBERTY IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR 1941-1945 / AND ESPECIALLY TO THOSE WHO SUFFERED AND DIED / MAY THEIR SACRIFICE INSPIRE FUTURE GENERATIONS / AND LEAD TO UNIVERSAL PEACE.

Please note, the NAME field includes a primary designation as well as alternate namings often in common or popular usage. The DEDICATED field refers to the most recent dedication, most often, but not necessarily the original dedication date. If the monument did not have a formal dedication, the year listed reflects the date of installation.

For more information, please contact Art & Antiquities at (212) 360-8143

Directions to Cadman Plaza Park

  • A New Walkway
  • Frisbee in the Park
  • Fresh New Ground to Walk Upon
  • Enjoying the Benches
  • Relaxing on a June Day
  • A Game of Frisbee on the Lawn
  • Frisbee in Front of the Memorial

Cadman Plaza Park Weather

  • Sun
    Sunny
    59°F
  • Mon
    Sunny
    64°F
  • Tue
    Chance Showers
    69°F
  • Wed
    Partly Sunny
    58°F

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