8. The Henry Hudson Memorial Was Not Created by the Sculptor Who Designed It
Alongside the construction of the Hudson Memorial Bridge, there were plans to erect a statue of Hudson in time for the 300th anniversary celebration of his voyage and the 100th anniversary of Robert Fulton’s North River Steamboat. In 1909, crews broke ground for the project: sculptor Karl Bitter prepared a plaster model of Hudson, and architectural firm Babb, Cook and Welch designed the 100-foot-high Doric column as the statue’s support.
However, the project, alongside the construction of the bridge, was ultimately postponed due to a lack of funds. During this hiatus, Bitter died in a car accident in 1915. However, when Robert Moses finally revived plans for the bridge in the 1930s, the idea for the monument was resurrected along with it. Bitter’s student, sculptor Karl H. Gruppe, had to take over the assignment. He also helped complete Bitter’s Pulitzer Fountain in Manhattan’s Grand Army Plaza. Today, the statue is the only one of Henry Hudson you can find in New York City.