In Honor / Of / All Those From / This District / Who Gave Their / Lives In The / World War / Presented By The / Washington Square / Association / 1920 /
—One of four inscriptions on the Washington Square Memorial Flagstaff base
Located at the north side of Washington Square, the Memorial Flagstaff honors the servicemen from Greenwich Village who died in World War I. It was a project of the Washington Square Association, which was founded in 1904, and is still an active part of the community. The Association sponsors the annual Christmas tree at the Washington Arch, and an annual music festival in the square.
Dedicated in 1920 the flagstaff pedestal was designed by the architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and White. With two-thirds of the firm’s principles dead, Stanford White in 1906 and Charles McKin in 1909, the firm’s glory days were behind it. Compare this modest commission that the vaunted architectural firm designed to the nearby Washington Arch which it designed in 1892.
Take note of the use of the fasces carved on the flagstaff base. Meaning ‘bundle,’ it refers to the bundle of sticks surrounding an ax, and was used by consul, praetors, magistrates, Vestal Virgins, governors, and the commanders of legions. This ancient Roman symbol was a commonly used and accepted symbol of the military up to World War Two. Because Italy’s dictator, Benito Mussolini, reached back to ancient Rome, and appropriated the fasces to represent his Fascist, whose root is fasces, government it was tainted, and fell out of favor with designers as a military symbol.
At a height of 7’6″ and a width of 5’9″ the pedestal is carved from Dover marble. This white stone was quarried in Dover Township of Duchess County, New York State, up the Hudson River, north of NYC.
Capt. Kenelm Winslow / Lt. Charles Derham Jr. / Lt. Jouett Fitch Singleton / Lt. Arthur Richmond Taber / Lt. Harry Thrasher / Lt. Jack M. Wright / Q.M. Clement Lawrence / Sgt. Bernard Bulnte / Sgt. Paul Burke Heflin / Sgt. George Wade Smith / Corp. Edward Grant Coxe / Corp. Alexander Amador Kin / Corp. Henry Joseph Lynch / Corp. Henry Lonsdale Scannell / Pvt. George Joseph Cuddy / Pvt. William Charles Dagan / Pvt. Daniel Esposito / Pvt. John Joseph Pullis / Pvt. Swan Austin Morrison / Pvt. Aloysius P. Mcmahon /
—An inscription on flagstaff’s base lists the names of the soldiers from the district.
“For the Great Republic, for the principle it lives by and keeps alive, for man’s vast future.”
—Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865)
This quote, by President Lincoln about the Civil War, is chiseled on the flagstaff base, and applied to what was known simply at the time as the World War, without a Roman numeral attached to it. No one wanted to think of the loss of life, the destruction of land and property, and the horror that another world war would cause.
Fourteenth Street / Seventh Ave. / Bleecker St. / Broadway
This inscription accompanies a map. The Greenwich Village street names border the “district” that another inscription references.
Read other Walk About New York articles about monuments in the Big Apple that honor military service.
World War I Memorials, Part One
World War I Memorials, Part Two
World War I Memorials, Part Three
George Washington: the Ultimate Veteran
Father Duffy in Times Square
Central Park’s Seventh Regiment Memorial
A Different Drummer
Our Greenwich Village Walking Tour begins in Washington Square, where this Memorial Flagstaff is found. What other memorials will you see during this Tour? Take the Tour; Know More!
ALL PHOTOS, EXCEPT VINTAGE ONES, AND TEXT, EXCEPT CREDITED QUOTES,
© THE AUTHOR 2017