Technical Assistance

Conditions Report for Riverside Park Monument

Conditions Report for Riverside Park Monument
Conditions Report for Riverside Park Monument
1902 Soldiers and Sailors Monument.
Conditions Report for Riverside Park Monument
Conditions Report for Riverside Park Monument
Conservancy staff met on site with Riverside Park Staff to tour the monument.
Conditions Report for Riverside Park Monument
Conditions Report for Riverside Park Monument
Inside the monument
Conditions Report for Riverside Park Monument
Conditions Report for Riverside Park Monument
The monument floor
Conditions Report for Riverside Park Monument
Conditions Report for Riverside Park Monument
Inside the monument

July 2015

The New York Landmarks Conservancy is partnering with the Riverside Park Conservancy to fund a conditions report and conservation study that will analyze in detail the current state of the landmarked 1902 Soldiers and Sailors Monument. The white marble monument is one of the most beautiful and significant Beaux Arts style memorials in the city. Dedicated to the Union soldiers and sailors who fought in the Civil War, its simple inscription reads: “To the memory of the brave soldiers and sailors who saved the Union”. The first stone was set by Governor Theodore Roosevelt in 1901 and its unveiling was on Memorial Day 1902 (then called “Decoration Day”).

Today, the monument and the magnificent terraces surrounding it are the setting for elaborate Memorial Day celebrations attended by hundreds of veterans and neighborhood residents as well as by politicians and government officials. It is very much still a part of modern life in the Upper West Side.

Meetings with officials at the Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation confirm that a detailed conditions report is needed by the Parks staff to obtain capital funds for the monument’s restoration. No public funds are available to fund such a report so the support of private organizations is crucial.

Conservancy staff met on site with Riverside Park Staff to tour the monument. Both the monument and its surrounding paved terrace are in poor condition. A rare look inside the monument, past the large bronze door, confirmed both the beauty of the architecture and the extent of damage from water penetration.

The temple-like monument, located on a natural high point near W.89th Street was designed by architects Charles and Arthur Stoughton who won a public competition. Their design is a marble cylindrical temple surrounded by 12 Corinthian columns; it is capped with richly carved ornament incorporating eagles and scrolls. Inspired by Greek antiquity, it is based on the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens although at 100 feet in height, it is much larger than its ancient predecessor.

The last meaningful repairs occurred in the 1960’s. Today, the white marble is stained and in many areas painted with grey paint to cover up graffiti. Many of the mortar joints are open allowing water to penetrate the exterior walls. Many of the paving stones on the terrace are chipped or damaged.

The report will include existing condition documentation, fine art survey, terrace survey, probes, marble treatment studies, cleaning studies, restoration scope and estimates of probable costs. It will also produce a modern set of digital base drawings that will be prepared using historical drawings in the possession of the Parks Department as well as on site measurements.

The monument is one of the Upper West Side’s treasures and we seek to make sure it survives in sound condition for the sake of present and future generations.

Watch our video below to learn more about Riverside Park.