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Ally
November 29, 2021

View of Prospect Park's Endale Arch, cobblestone path, street lamp, several park benches, and portion of park beyond. Endale Arch, 194-?, gelatin silver print. Brooklyn Daily Eagle photograph collection, PARK_0166. Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History. 

 

This photograph, aside from being an excellent candidate for the liminal spaces Twitter account, depicts the view that park-goers would have seen when exiting the Endale Arch and entering the Long Meadow. It is located under Park Drive, which at construction, would have been bustling with carriages and the clatter of horse hooves. Built by Frederick Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the Endale Arch is one of a number of arches within the park and was envisioned by its creators as a portal, taking one from the chaotic city life of Grand Army Plaza and transporting them to the peace and tranquility of Prospect Park. The arch is located at the eastern entrance to the Long Meadow near the Brooklyn Public Library on Flatbush Avenue. It was built in 1867 and constructed of Ohio and New Jersey sandstone. 

In the decades since, the arch fell into disrepair. Water damage ate away at the wood panels and anti-graffiti paint covered over interior details. In 2015, the Prospect Park Alliance began an extensive and expensive renovation to bring the Endale Arch back to its earlier glory. Beginning with a $500,000 repair job, the Alliance stabilized the stone retaining walls and hillsides, removed invasive plants and planted native ones, and addressed the drainage problems that had been causing flooding. The Alliance contracted Barnhardt Restoration to return the interior of the arch and the exterior stonework. After removing layers of paint and grit, the team discovered original 150-year-old details, including the alternating exterior of yellow Berea sandstone and New Jersey brownstone, and white pine and black walnut wood paneling on the interior. The addition of LED lights has really highlighted the wonder and beauty of the Endale Arch, which reopened in 2020. Rumor has it, it has already been the site of at least one wedding proposal! 

Photograph: Courtesy Paul Martinka

Interested in seeing more photos from CBH’s collections? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images, or the digital collections portal at Brooklyn Public Library. We look forward to inviting you to CBH in the future to research in our entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections. In the meantime, please visit our resources page to search our collections. Questions? Our reference staff is available to help with your research! You can reach us at [email protected].

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