19. The Washington Square Arch
One of Stanford White’s most iconic designs is that of the Washington Square Arch in Washington Square Park, and he designed it for free! Before the construction of the marble arch in 1892 a temporary arch made of wood, papier-mache and white plaster, also designed by White, was erected in 1889 to celebrate the centennial of President George Washington’s inauguration. Residents grew fond of the arch and raised funds to build permanent one.
For the new marble version of the arch, White drew inspiration from sites in Rome and Paris‘s Arc de Triomphe which went up fifty years prior. While White wanted his arch to look more modern and simple than the one in Paris, he did incorporate antique elements such as allegorical figures, bands of decorative motifs, and wreaths of laurel. The relief work on the arch was done by sculptor Frederick MacMonnies and the eagles perched on top were created by Phillippe Martiny. Two sculpture of Washington, as Commander in Chief and as President, created by Hermon MacNeil and Alexander Stirling Calder were added years later.