Early New York

Fernando Wood, Mayor of New York City and Creator of Central Park, Signed Check, PSA/DNA 8

Fernando Wood, Mayor of New York City and Creator of Central Park, Signed Check, PSA/DNA 8

 

PSA/DNA slabbed check, 7.25" x 3.5,"  graded PSA/DNA as NM-MT 8. Signed by Fernando Wood as “Fernando Wood,” Mayor, in lower left corner. A gorgeous pale blue official New York City check titled along the top edge as "To The Treasurer of The City Of New York At The Mechanic's Bank." Co-signed by both a clerk and the controller "M. Flagg." Written out to "Jacob L. Smith" for the amount of "Nineteen 50/100,"  and dated "March 1, 1856."  Endorsed by check recipient “Jacob Smith” on verso.

Fernando Wood, signed check as Mayor of New York in the year that the land designated for Central Park was acquired. Perhaps his most beloved achievement, Wood's efforts along with the increasing urbanization of Manhattan prompted the call for a new, large park to be built on the island. The views gained widespread support, and in 1856 most of the park’s present land was bought with about $5,000,000 that had been appropriated by the state legislature. The clearing of the site, which was begun in 1857, entailed the removal of a bone-boiling works, many scattered hovels and squalid farms, free-roaming livestock, and several open drains and sewers. A plan was devised by the architects that would preserve and enhance the natural features of the terrain to provide a pastoral park for city dwellers. During the park’s ensuing construction millions of cartloads of dirt and topsoil were shifted to build the terrain, about 5,000,000 trees and shrubs were planted, a water-supply was laid, and many bridges, arches, and roads were constructed.

The completed Central Park officially opened in 1876, and it is still one of the greatest achievements in artificial landscaping. The park’s terrain and vegetation are highly varied and range from flat grassy swards, gentle slopes, and shady glens to steep, rocky ravines.

 

Wood's later controversial Civil War stance had him calling for New York City to secede and become a free city. Although he briefly supported President Abraham Lincoln and the Northern war effort, by 1863 he was organizing the peace Democrats (called “Copperheads” by Republicans) and demanding that the North negotiate an immediate end to the war. Elected to Congress in 1862 and again from 1866 to 1880, Wood opposed Republican Reconstruction policies but generally supported Republican fiscal measures. His independence alienated fellow Democrats, and they refused to elect him speaker of the House in 1875. But in 1877 Wood was elected majority floor leader and made chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. He served in the House of Representatives until his death.

 

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Item: 64049

Price: $200.00
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Early New York
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