Yesterday, we covered 8 of NYC’s monumental arches, including two that are no longer standing today. One, the Seaman-Drake arch still exists but is mostly forgotten and graffiti-ridden. This 35-foot high marble arch is now partially obscured behind buildings in Inwood. The arch is a remnant of a once wealthy family, whose marble estate was once entered via this monumental arch. According to The New York Times, the Drake family built their estate in 1855 on a hilltop north of the Dyckman family, using marble quarried from a location at the foot of the hill along Broadway. A low marble wall extended from the arch, which was said to be an exact replica of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
My Inwood has a great collection of vintage photographs showing the arch over time. The arch can be seen in this 1903 photograph of the the Sherman Creek Power Plant:
1927, with a new addition on top with two dormer windows and roof. The house was sold to Thomas Dwyer, a contractor who built the Solder and Sailor’s Monument and part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, who used the arch as his workshop.
As the IRT subway made its way, the land was subdivided and at some point, a car dealership used the arch as its entrance. This signaled the end of the once grand Drake mansion, which was demolished in 1938 for the Park Terrace Gardens. The arch caught fire in 1970, leaving the roof open.
Read more about NYC’s 8 monumental arches!