Statues of Prospect Park
Chisholm was the political trailblazer who was both the first black U.S. Congresswoman and the first woman to seek the Democratic presidential nomination. When it arrives, Chisholm’s monument will join the ranks of Prospect Park’s statuary, with the distinction of being the park’s first to depict a real (not fictional) woman, and the city’s sixth overall. From composers to former U.S. presidents, meet some of the statues already gracing these 585 acres.
Prospect Park is home to not one, but two sculptural renditions of Abraham Lincoln! Erected in Grand Army Plaza in 1869, this statue was the very first memorial to the President after his assassination in 1865. It is the park’s first monument, added just two years after Prospect Park first opened to the public in 1867. It was moved in 1895 to the Concert Grove where it remains today, overlooking the Lake.
Abraham Lincoln can also be found on the Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Arch at Grand Army Plaza. The arch, which commemorates the Union victory in the Civil War, includes this unusual relief sculpture of Lincoln sitting on a horse. The relief was installed in 1895, and sits opposite a similar figure of former President Ulysses S. Grant and only yards from a bust of President John F. Kennedy.
Another one of Prospect Park’s earliest monuments is the bust of author Washington Irving, erected in Prospect Park in 1871. Irving (1783-1859) is mainly remembered today for his works "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle." In the early 1800s he was America's first internationally best-selling author. Irving's place in the affections of New York is clear from the photograph of the unveiling of this monument, at which famed orator Henry Ward Beecher spoke before 15,000 spectators. The monument can be found just off the Park Drive across from the Concert Grove.
Image on right courtesy of The Brooklyn Historical Society.
Familiar to anyone who frequents Imagination Playground, located near the park’s Lincoln Road Entrance, this bronze sculpture features Peter and his dachshund, Willie—characters in the stories of best-selling children’s book author Ezra Jack Keats (1916-1983). Sculpted by Brooklyn-based, African-American artist Otto Neals, the whimsical statue is frequently the location for summer story hours. It was funded by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and was installed in 1997. Every July, join the Alliance on Saturdays and Sundays for storytelling sessions at the statue, funded by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation.
This bronze tableau, which sits at the 9th Street Entrance to Prospect Park, depicts the French-born Revolutionary War hero, the Marquis de Lafayette (1757–1834), notably with African-American groomsman James Armistead. The nearly 10-foot-high monument by artist Daniel Chester French (1850–1931), who also designed the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., was a gift of Henry Harteau, a Brooklyn glass insurer of French ancestry, and was unveiled by representatives of the French War Commission in 1917.
Prospect Park’s Concert Grove was designed to accommodate musical performances and the area is well-populated with busts of famous composers, such as Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827). This bronze bust of the world-renowned German composer was created by the German-American sculptor Henry Baerer (1837–1908) and dedicated in 1894. The statue is one of several in the Concert Grove which were donated by the German Singers of Brooklyn, which also include Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Karl Maria Von Weber.
A statue of one of the park’s founding fathers presides over the park’s busy Grand Army Plaza entrance. James S.T. Stranahan was a business and civic leader in the burgeoning city of Brooklyn. In the early 1860s Stranahan argued that a park in Brooklyn “would become a favorite resort for all classes of our community, enabling thousands to enjoy pure air, with healthful exercise, at all seasons of the year…” Stranahan would served as the first president of the Prospect Park Commission, and oversaw the creation of Brooklyn's flagship park from inception to completion
Looking to commemorate or memorialize someone? Prospect Park Alliance offers options from trees to benches through our Commemorative Giving Program.