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Washington Arch, New York City, c. 1900

Washington Arch in Washington Square
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_D47_NE95
Document Description
The Washington Arch in Washington Square, New York City. Photograph taken circa 1900.
Why do you think the original arch was built out of wood?
What is a centennial?
What year did Washington become president?
Why are the statues of Washington as general and president not shown in this photograph?
If you were a historian trying to figure out when this photograph was taken, what clues from the photograph would you use?
Historical Challenges
Research all the different statues and landmarks that represent George Washington and create a map that identifies each location. Remember to create a key.
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: How many inches tall is the Washington Arch?
Art & Science: Where does marble come from? What properties of marble make it a good material for sculptures and monuments? Compare its advantages and disadvantages to those of the granite used in the front staircase of the New York State Capitol.
English Language Arts: Was George Washington more important to the United States as a general or as president? Write a persuasive speech explaining your opinion.
Berman, Eleanor. New York (Eyewitness Travel Guides). New York: Dorling Kindersley, 2002. ISBN: 078948756X
Davis, Kenneth C. Don't Know Much about George Washington. New York: HarperCollins, 2003. ISBN: 0060288175, 064421244
Heilbroner, Joan. Meet George Washington. New York: Random House, 2001. ISBN: 0375803971
Marrin, Albert. George Washington and the Founding of a Nation. New York: Dutton Children's Books, 2001. ISBN: 0525464816
Old, Wendie C. George Washington. Springfield, NJ: Ensow, 1997. ISBN: 0894908324
Peacock, Louise. Crossing the Delaware: A History in Many Voices. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1998. ISBN: 0689809948

Historical Context
As part of the 1889 centennial celebration of Washington's inauguration as president of the United States, a temporary wooden memorial arch was constructed on Fifth Avenue just north of Washington Square in New York City. The arch was so well liked that a marble version was built in Washington Square.  Construction of the new arch began in 1890 and was completed in the spring of 1895.  The marble arch, designed by Stanford White, is seventy-seven feet tall.  Sculptures of Washington as general and president were added in 1916 and 1918.
Essential Question
How do symbols unite people?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and explain how this monument unites the American people.