John Paul Jones Park
John Paul Jones Park
This park is named for American Patriot and Naval hero, John Paul Jones (1747-1792), who, through victorious leadership in the American Revolution, became known as “the father of the Navy.”
Born in Kirkcudbright, Scotland, the young apprentice John Paul went to sea at the age of 12 as a cabin boy. By age 19, he was first mate of a Jamaican slave ship. After murdering a mutinous crewman in 1773, he changed his name to John Paul Jones and fled to the American colonies. Enlisting in the newly established Continental Navy in 1775, Jones distinguished himself as captain of the sloop Providence, as First Lieutenant of the flagship Alfred and Captain of both the warships Ranger and Bonhomme Richard. On September 23, 1779 Jones’s ship slipped into the midst of a British mercantile convoy. In attacking the convoy’s escorts, the H.M.S. Serapis and the Countess of Scarborough, Jones’s smaller vessel suffered severe damage. His vessel afire and sinking, Jones refused the enemy’s demand for surrender, replying “I have not yet begun to fight.” Three hours later, the Serapis surrendered.
After this and other Revolutionary War victories, Jones received honors from all over the world, including a gold medal from the newly formed Continental Congress, and a gold-hilted sword from King Louis XVI who made him a chevalier of France.
Bound by Shore Road, Fourth Avenue, 101st Street, and Fort Hamilton Parkway, the City of Brooklyn acquired the property comprising this park between 1895 and 1897 as part of the proceedings for the construction of Shore Road, and transferred it directly to Parks. The United States Military presented the Civil War Memorial in 1900. The massive, black, 20” bore, Parrott cannon, founded in 1864, originally stood in Fort Pitt, Pennsylvania. Today it and the surrounding cannon balls dominate the landscape. The Revolutionary War Memorial consists of a bronze tablet on a granite boulder that Parks received, in 1916, from the Long Island Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1931, Parks received The Dover Patrol Naval War Memorial. The granite shaft by Sir Ashton Webb was a gift from England after World War I. These tributes to United States military history ushered in the 1969 name change to John Paul Jones Park.
In 1980, John Paul Jones Park acquired its most recent monument the 70 foot tall flag pole that once belonged to a Navy destroyer. At the base lies a plaque, which reads “in honor of John Paul Jones, the father of the Navy.”