Hidden in Van Cortlandt Park are thirteen pillars used to decide the stone for Grand Central Terminal’s majestic facade.
Along the John Kieran Nature Trail, deep in The Bronx’s Van Cortlandt Park, are thirteen stone pillars that were installed in the 1910s before Grand Central Terminal was built. Their use was to test the durability of different types of stone that would be used for the facade of Grand Central. The New York Central Railroad ended up choosing Indiana limestone, the most durable stone that would also be cheapest to transport along the rail lines.
The nature trail in this part of the park runs along the tracks for the former Putnam Division of the Central Railroad. Today, the pillars have been painted to cover up graffiti, but the two Indiana limestone samples still stand–they are the two pillars at the far right.
Here are some more photos of the pillars in Van Cortlandt Park: