Prison Ship Martyrs Monument

Prison Ship Martyrs Monument

Situated in the heart of Brooklyn, the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument is one of the most notable war memorials in New York City. This landmark honors thousands of patriots who died aboard British navy ships during the American Revolutionary War. The Prison Ship Martyrs Monument is a great place to learn about the early history of the United States and NYC.

Architecture and Design of the Monument

The head architect of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument was Stanford White, who was employed by McKim, Mead & White. This architectural firm’s portfolio includes dozens of notable landmarks in New York City.

Standing 149 feet tall, a Doric-style column forms the core of the monument. This massive granite structure was heavily inspired by the monumental temples from Ancient Greece and Rome. The column rises above a staircase that measures exactly 100 feet in width. You have to climb 99 total steps to reach the base of the column.

Another notable feature at the monument is a crypt that holds some of the remains of prisoners who made the ultimate sacrifices during the American Revolutionary War. The top of the Doric column proudly holds a large urn that’s shaped roughly like a lion’s face. Bronze statues of the American bald eagle can be seen at the base of the monument. Most of the credit for the sculpting work of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument goes to Adolph Alexander Weinman, who was born in Germany and lived most of his life in the United States.

Installed at the lower end of the Doric column, a bronze plaque briefly describes the historic significance of the monument. Fort Greene Park also has plenty of trails and playgrounds that provide a family-friendly environment for honoring American history.

History of the Monument

The current Prison Ship Martyrs Monument was officially dedicated in November of 1908. William Howard Taft, who just won the presidential election, was present at the opening ceremony that had an attendance of more than 15,000 people. Quite appropriately, Fort Greene in Brooklyn became the third site for a monument that commemorated prisoners who died fighting for independence from the British Empire.

The fort was named in honor of Nathanael Greene, a brave general who led several important military campaigns during the American Revolution. In its early years, the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument was vandalized and eventually fell into decline. Shocked citizens of Brooklyn and workers of municipal organizations ultimately found money to fund the restoration of the grand monument.

In 2004, approximately 3.5 million dollars were invested to restore and renovate the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument to its full glory. A centennial celebration in 2008 also marked a major point in the landmark’s rich history.

Visiting Prison Ship Martyrs Monument

The Prison Ship Martyrs Monument is the centerpiece of Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn. This 30-acre park is one of the largest green spaces in the densely populated borough. Located only two blocks away from the park, the DeKalb Avenue New York City subway is served by the B, D, Q, and R lines. These express trains provide convenient connections between Brooklyn and most parts of Manhattan.

The busy DeKalb Avenue also has several bus stops that are part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority(MTA) network. You’ll find several MTA bus stops along Myrtle Avenue, which runs along the northern edge of Greene Park.

Some notable neighborhoods that surround the park include Clinton Hill and Boerum Hill. After exploring the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, there are plenty of other notable landmarks in the vicinity. For example, the historic Brooklyn Navy Yard once built some of the mightiest vessels for the United States Navy.

Click here to visit Prison Ship Martyrs Monument official website.

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