Thursday, January 8, 2015

About the Statue where bird club meets for migration walks

 At  Grand Army Plaza's Prospect entrance.

Most people think of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux as chiefly responsible for the existence of Prospect Park, but in 1891 the Brooklyn community recognized the paramount role of James S.T. Stranahan, who as president of the Brooklyn Park Commission persuaded Vaux to submit a design, hired Olmsted & Vaux Company as designers and construction supervisors, protected them from political pressures, and provided the ultimately over budget funds to create the Park.

At left is a photograph of the monument to Stranahan just inside the Grand Army Plaza entrance before it was cleaned by the Parks Department’s Monuments Conservation Program.   The inscription on the 124-year-old pedestal is quite worn away. Within the wreath Stranahan is called “a citizen of Brooklyn, honored for many noble services.”  But this monument serves a double, almost contradictory duty. While the visitor gazes at the full-size bronze figure and reads of this “chief founder of Prospect Park,” the curling “ribbons” at the four corners instruct the visitor to do something else (in Latin, however):

                        LECTOR SI

The translation is “Reader, if you seek his monument, look around you.”  Prospect Park, in other words, is declared to be Stranahan’s true monument.

Monument to J.S.T. Stranahan, date unknown.