Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Mystery of McGowan’s Pass; or, Where the Switchback Came From

In the early 1860s the New York City Park Commission extended the northern boundary of Central Park from the line of 106th Street to 110th Street. It was a region of steep hills, cliffs, ravines, a marshy creekbed, and the … Continue reading

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Stetson’s Mount St. Vincent Hotel, c. 1866

There were a number of stereoscopic views of this area manufactured in the 1860s and 70s. This is pretty much how things looked when Frederick Law Olmsted and his family lived here, 1859-1862, while Olmsted was directing the construction of … Continue reading

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Leggett’s Half-Way Tavern

On the Bridle Path in Central Park, by East Drive near 102nd Street, there is a sudden rise in elevation. No more than a few feet in height, and no more than a few yards in length. It seems to … Continue reading

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The Pass and Gatehouse in 1814

John Joseph Holland was an English-born architect and watercolorist who settled in New York and drew most of the first-hand depictions we have of the Fort Clinton and McGowan’s Pass area in the early 1800s. This is his watercolor of … Continue reading

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McGowan Sledge at the McGowan Farm

Another curious image from Valentine’s Manual, 1863 issue, displaying that almanac’s continuing interest with McGowan’s Pass. The sledge may have been drawn from life, but the setting is just an imaginative reconstruction. You can imagine how the illustrator’s mind worked: … Continue reading

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