The NYC That Never Was: The “Monument to Democracy” With a 100-foot Tall Rainbow Arch by the Founder of The Cloisters | Untapped Cities

by jeff reuben

“Memorial Arch Completed” (1936). Collection of Brian E. Hack

“Memorial Arch Completed” (1936). Collection of Brian E. Hack

If the proposed Monument to Democracy, a peace memorial honoring the dead of the First World War, had been built in the Washington Heights section of New York City, it would have been a massive complex with more than 50 statues and an arch taller than the ones in Washington Square Park and Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn.

To understand the audacious vision for the Monument to Democracy, one has to first understand the man who conceived it and single-handedly tried to make it a reality.

George Grey Barnard was a leading sculptor in the early 1900s who received several major commissions, including a statuary group completed in 1911 at the Pennsylvania State Capitol.  He was also an art collector and after spending several years in France moved to Washington Heights shortly before World War I.

Read more: The NYC That Never Was: The “Monument to Democracy” With a 100-foot Tall Rainbow Arch by the Founder of The Cloisters | Untapped Cities

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