Monday, March 12, 2012

Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn, New York, New York

The 30-acre Fort Green Park (originally Washington Park) was established in 1847 by author Walt Whitman and later designed by Olmstead and Vaux in 1867. The Prison Ship Martyrs Memorial (1908, McKim, Mead & White) stands at the top of the hill, commemorating 11,500 prisoners of war perished aboard British ships docked in Wallabout Bay (near Brooklyn Navy Yard), a death toll 3X as great as the combat casualties in the American Revolutionary War ! It is a Doric column crowned with a brazier, which once held an eternal flame.

What was once the world's most elegant comfort station. the Visitors Center is a 1908 distyle in antis (two columns flanked by two blank walls) Doric mini-temple, Stanford White's last commission, before he was murdered by his mistress's husband.

Hall of Fame, University Heights, The Bronx, New York, New York

The Hall of Fame for Great Americans is a colonnade that was conceived by Cornelius MacCracken, Chancellor of NYU's University Heights Campus. It was designed to camouflage the unsightly high foundation walls underpinning Stanford White's Library. The Classical Arcade was designed by McKim, Mead & White (1901, 1914).

NYU University Heights Campus, The Bronx, New York, New York

NYU's University Heights Campus is bounded by University Ave, 180th St., and the Hall of Fame Terrace. Begun in the 1890s, the 50-acre campus was NYU's uptown campus until 1973. The original landscape architect was Vaux. The Library, Language Hall, and Hall of Philosophy were all designed in 1900 by McKim, Mead & White and are classical revival. The domed Library is spectacular with a breathtaking marble interior.
Three mansions predate the campus, inc. the Henry Mitchell MacCracken residence (photo, stone), founder of the Heights campus, overlooking the Harlem River.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Urban Archeology - Maple Ave., Springfield, Massachusetts

Springfield Armory, Springfield, Massachusetts

The Springfield Armory became a National Historic Site in 1974. It became a museum after it ceased operations in 1968. Based on a decision put into place in 1794 by George Washington, the U.S. established northern and southern (Harper's Ferry, VA) arms manufacturing sites as it became obvious that the U.S. could not depend on Europe to supply arms for its own security. For 174 years, Springfield was the epicenter of military small arms development and manufacture.
Interestingly, during the Civil War, Harper's Ferry was demolished, and the Confederates were forced to secure firearms from Europe. Prior to the War, the South had nearly 300,000 military firearms, enough for a short war. Some musket firearms (100,000) were manufactured at Richmond (VA) and Fayetteville (NC), while Springfield had the most advanced technology in the world.
Springfield Armory NHS has the largest collection of Confederate shoulder arms in the world. The Main Arsenal building (pictured) was used to store finished firearms. The loading dock stairwell was designed to resemble a carbine. Heavy manufacturing operations were done a mile down Walnut Ave. at the Mill River facility (bottom photo).
During WWI, the Armory produced over 265,000 Model 1903 rifles for American troops. Mass production allowed for the manufacture of 3.5million M1 rifles during WWII. Phased out in 1966, the M14 rifle was the last to be produced in Springfield.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hunter College Bronx Campus, Kingsbridge, The Bronx, New York, New York

Now Lehman College (since 1968) in the NW Bronx, near Van Cortland Park, the buildings shown here (Old Gymnasium, Davis Hall, Gillet Hall, Music Bldg) formed the original Bronx campus for Hunter College (formed in 1873 in Manhattan, Lexington and 68/69 Sts.), which expanded out of Manhattan in the 1920s into Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, and lastly in the 1930s, The Bronx. Built in 1932, architects Thompson, Holmes & Converse. Fine door treatment on Davis Hall.

Primarily a women's college until the 1950s, during WWII, it was home of the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) and SPARS (US Coast Guard Women's Reserve, derived from Semper Paratus). Note WAVES plaque above main door on Music Bldg. The Navy leased the campus to train 95,000 women. In 1946, when the Navy left, the UN Security Council held sessions on campus.