Park History

Park History

 

1624
New York City is founded.
1686
The area now known as Madison Square is designated as an urban public space and used mainly as a hunting ground.
1807
The US Army repurposes the grounds to train soldiers and house munitions.
1839
A farmhouse at what is now Fifth Ave. and 23rd St. becomes Madison Cottage (named for president James Madison), an inn that acts as the last stop for many travelers heading in or out of the city. The inn is torn down in 1853, but the Madison moniker remains.
1842
Amateur baseball teams begin using part of the park to play their games. Soon after, a man named Alexander Cartwright takes the initiative to codify rules and create uniforms, naming his team the New York Knickerbockers.
1847
Madison Square Park officially opens as a public park.
1857
The body of General William Jenkins Worth is buried in Worth Square on November 25 making the Worth Monument one of only two NYC monuments that doubles as a mausoleum (the other being Grant’s Tomb).
1870
With the creation of New York City’s Department of Public Parks, Madison Square is re-designed by William Grant and Ignatz Pilat, an Austrian landscaper who helped design Central Park
1876
The Statue of Liberty’s right arm and torch is put on display for the next 6 years in an effort to raise funding to complete the statue’s construction.
1902
The striking Flatiron building goes up directly southwest of Madison Square Park.
1909
The landmark Met Life Tower at the corner of Madison and 23rd is completed, becoming the tallest skyscraper in New York at the time.
1912
The first public Christmas tree in the United States was displayed in Madison Square Park.
1923
On Armistice Day, November 11, 1923, the Eternal Light Monument was dedicated in Madison Square Park to commemorate the return of United States Army and Navy troops from World War I.
1997
After several decades of unfortunate neglect, the City Parks Foundation launches the Campaign for the New Madison Square Park, the precursor organization to the Madison Square Park Conservancy.
       
The entire park is revitalized, its fountain and statues restored to their former glory. New gateways, pathways, lighting and a reflecting pool are also installed.
       
Today, Madison Square Park is a green jewel in the midst of the city. Its restored beauty and purpose has given rise to a new birth of business and residential development ensuring future generations the opportunity to enjoy its natural splendor.