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Central Park

Pilgrim map_it

History

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

This bronze piece by acclaimed sculptor John Quincy Adams Ward (1830–1910) depicts one of the Pilgrims that landed at Massachusetts’s Plymouth Rock in November 1620. The monument was commissioned by the New England Society for the organization’s 75th anniversary.

The monumental figure is leaning on his musket, and his hat, boots, and belt buckle evoke the dress of the period. Architect Richard Morris Hunt (1828–1895) designed the rusticated granite pedestal, which features four bas-reliefs depicting various significant aspects of the Pilgrims’ landing, including the Mayflower ship and an image of a bible and sword. The piece was dedicated in 1885 in Central Park at the north side of the East 72nd Street throughway. The slope below the monument, known as Pilgrim Hill, has long been a favorite locale for sledding during the winter. In 1979, the Central Park Conservancy chose this piece as one of the first to be restored in Central Park’s comprehensive program to restore its collection of statuary. The powder flasks were recast and replaced in 1999.

Sculptor Ward has been referred to as the “Dean of American Sculptors.” He contributed nine sculptures to the parks of New York, among them Roscoe Conkling (1893) in Madison Square Park, Alexander Holley (1888) in Washington Square Park, William Earl Dodge (1885), now in Bryant Park, Henry Ward Beecher (1891) in Columbus Park, Brooklyn, Horace Greeley (1890) in City Hall Park, and The Indian Hunter (1869), William Shakespeare (1872), and the Seventh Regiment Memorial (1874) in Central Park. Ward worked with Richard Morris Hunt on many of these pieces. Hunt designed the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty (1886) and is honored with a bust and memorial by Daniel Chester French (1850–1931) near Fifth Avenue between 70th and 71st Streets.

Pilgrim Details

  • Sculptor: John Quincey Adams Ward
  • Architect: Richard Morris Hunt
  • Description: Statue, pedestal with sculptural panel
  • Materials: Bronze, Quincy granite
  • Dimensions: Statue H: 9'; Pedestal H: 16'7 ½" W: 5'10" D: 5'10"
  • Dedicated: June 6, 1885
  • Foundry: H. Bonnard, NYC
  • Donor: New England Society
  • Inscription: TO COMMEMORATE / THE LANDING OF THE / PILGRIM FATHERS / ON / PLYMOUTH
    ROCK / DECEMBER 21, 1620/

    /ERECTED BY THE / NEW ENGLAND SOCIETY / IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK/
    1885/

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

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