1868 Shannon and Rogers View of the Lake, Central Park, New York City

Central Park. The Lake from the East Side.

1868 Shannon and Rogers View of the Lake, Central Park, New York City


View of Central Park's Lake with the Bow Bridge in the background.


Central Park. The Lake from the East Side.
  1868 (undated)    5 x 7.5 in (12.7 x 19.05 cm)


This is a beautiful 1868 view of the Lake in Central Park as seen from the east, by Shannon and Rogers. The view features a boat in the water with the Bow Bridge visible in the distance. The Lake, Central Park’s largest naturalistic water body, was created from a former swamp. Vaux and Olmstead envision this 20 acre Lake to be used for boating in the summer and ice-skating in the winter.

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.

Prepared for inclusion in the 1868 edition of Joseph Shannon's Manual of The Corporation of the City of New York.


Joseph Shannon (fl. c. 1850 - 1869) produced a series of New York City almanacs and fact books entitled Manual of the Corporation of The City of New York . Shannon's Manual is very similar to the more common manual issued by Valentine. The production of this annual manual was the responsibility of the Clerk of the Common Council of the City of New York, a position held at different times by both Shannon and Valentine. The manual included facts about the City of New York, city council information, city history, and reported on the progress of public works such as Central Park.

William C. Rogers (fl. c. 1860 - 1873) was a New York based lithographer active in the mid to late 19th century. His is best known for his engravings issued in conjunction with Joseph Shannon's Manual of the Corporation fo the City of New York. Rogers issued several maps of New York City in the 1860s and 1870s.


Shannon, J., Shannon's Manual of the Corporation of the City of New York, (1868 edition).    


Very good. Minor staining on margins.
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