Green-Wood Cemetery in New York City

Photo by Michael Kleen

Green-Wood Cemetery, at 500 25th Street in Brooklyn, New York City, was founded in 1838 as a rural cemetery, providing a garden-like resting place in the heart of the city for over 600,000 former residents. Its Gothic revival gates, designed by Richard M. Upjohn, were designated a New York City Landmark in 1966, and the cemetery itself was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. The Battle of Brooklyn was partially fought on (what became) its 478 acres.

Eliza Rosanna Gilbert (1921-1861)

Eliza Rosanna Gilbert (1921-1861), also known as “Lola Montez”, was an Irish performer who gained worldwide fame as a “Spanish dancer”. She was once mistress of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, who made her Countess of Landsfeld, but fled to the United States in 1848 after Ludwig’s abdication. After a scandalous tour in Australia, she returned to the US, where she died of syphilis.

Charles M. Higgins (1854-1929)

This bronze statue to the Roman goddess Minerva, designed by Frederick Wellington Ruckstuhl, stands on Battle Hill over the Altar of Liberty, her arm outstretched to salute the distant Statue of Liberty across lower New York Harbor. She was unveiled in 1920 on the 144th anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn, a key piece of which was fought on that very hill. Charles M. Higgins (1854-1929), an Irish-American ink merchant, erected the statue outside his family’s tomb.

William Magear "Boss" Tweed (1823-1878)

William Magear “Boss” Tweed (1823-1878) was the most notorious politician in New York City. He reigned over Tammany Hall, the Democratic Party political machine, for fourteen years. He was the third-largest landowner in New York City and a New York State Senator, before being arrested for corruption in 1871. It’s estimated he stole as much as $45 million to $200 million from the taxpayers during his tenure as political boss. He died in jail of pneumonia a broken man.

Clarence MacKenzie (1849-1861)

Designed by The Monumental Bronze Co. in 1886 and cast in distinctive zinc (or “White Bronze”), this monument is dedicated to Brooklyn’s first casualty of the American Civil War, Clarence MacKenzie, “Our Drummer Boy.” He was only 12 years old when he joined Brooklyn’s 13th New York State Militia. He was killed on June 11, 1861 in Annapolis, Maryland by an accidental discharge during training. He once wrote in a letter home, “Dear mother, do not cry for me, for I am well off, and I hope to return to you in three months or sooner.”

William Holbrook Beard (1824-1900)

This bronze bear, designed by Dan Ostermiller, is dedicated to artist William Holbrook Beard (1824-1900), whose whimsical paintings of anthropomorphic animals became widely popular in the late nineteenth century. His painting “The Bulls and Bears in the Market” depicts bulls and bears, metaphors for Wall Street investors, engaged in a great struggle outside the New York Stock Exchange. One bear stands off to the side, checking a ledger book.

Author: Michael Kleen

Michael Kleen is an author, raconteur, and occasional traveler. He has a M.A. in History and M.S. in Education. He enjoys studying military history, folklore, and philosophy.

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