1891 Kobbe Map or Plan of Central Park, New York
Description: This is a rare 1891 map of New York City's Central Park, by Gustav Kobbe. It depicts the park as a whole and includes pathways, lakes, individual buildings, etc. The streets and avenues surrounding the park are labeled as are the various landmarks of Central Park - North Meadow, The Ramble, the Mall, and several others. Also features the Old Croton Reservoir. A key at the bottom of the map locates several other important buildings and places of interest within Central Park.
This extraordinary map reveals Central Park as conceived by the Landscape Architects, and indeed 'artists', Vaux and Olmstead. Vaux and Olmstead were awarded the task of designing Central Park in 1853 by the City Common Council. Olmstead’s vision drove the overall design while Vaux concentrated his attentions on bridges, buildings, and other structures within the park. The creation of Central Park, which was to consist of some 800 acres of public forest, pathways, promenades, lakes, bridges, and meadows, was a seminal moment in civic urban design. The park itself was designed as a whole with every tree, pond, and bench meticulously planned. Olmstead wrote: 'Every foot of the parks surface, every tree and bush, as well as every arch, roadway, and walk and been placed where it is for a purpose.'
Historian Gloria Deak writes,
There was a staggering amount of work to be done to transform the area into a blend of pastoral and woodland scenery. This involved the design and construction of roadways, tunnels, bridges, arches, stairways, fountains, benches, lamp posts, gates, fences and innumerable other artifacts. It also involved the supervision of an army of about five thousand laborers…Olmsted, to whom most of the credit goes, insisted on seeing the multidimensional project as a single work of art, which he was mandated to create. For this purpose, he ventured to assume to himself the title of 'artist.'Today, because of Vaux and Olmstead’s efforts, New York Yorkers, ourselves included, have the privilege of enjoying what is, perhaps, the finest example of a planned urban public recreation area in the world.
This map was issued to accompany the 1891 edition of Kobbe's New York and its Environs, published by Harper and Brothers, Franklin Square.
Date: 1891 (undated)
Source: Kobbe, G., New York and its Environs, New York, 1891.
Size: Printed area measures 15.5 x 5.5 inches (39.37 x 13.97 centimeters)
Scale: 1 : 12000
Condition: Very good. Minor wear and verso repair along original fold lines. Blank on verso.
Code: CentralPark-kobbe-1891 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)
Tags: City Plan , Manhattan , Kobbe