A famous image from the history of the US Revolutionary War is the pulling down of the statue of King George III in Manhattan.

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Source: www.teachushistory.org

It seems pretty clear that the statue was in Bowling Green Park, but it isn't clear where in the park it was or how to find that location today.

Is the specific location of the statue known today? If so, how can I find it? Is there any marker or landmark at the location now or is every trace gone?

The scope of this question is about finding and visiting the location where this statue was found. I'm not asking about details of its construction or demolition or asking about political, cultural, or sociopolitical ramifications of its construction, presence, or demolition. I'm also not asking whether any pieces of the statue have survived, and if so, where they are today.

  • Why would Americans mark the location of a statue of the tyrant they fought to be free of? The park where Americans gathered to defy the king is far more important than the location of the item they destroyed to dishonor the king.
    – user13044
    Dec 14, 2016 at 3:23
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    @Tom perhaps because they wanted to preserve evidence of their triumph over the king? Maybe they suspected that future tourists might be interested? Perhaps they intended to put a different statue in its place? There are a lot of reasons we could speculate on. Dec 14, 2016 at 3:26
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    Bowling Green park is small enough that you can visit every location in the park by taking a leisurely five-minute stroll. So, to answer "can I visit there today": yes.
    – phoog
    Dec 14, 2016 at 5:02
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    @Tom Sure, the part about tourists is silly. But it's pretty common to replace the statue of the guy you hate with a new statue of the guy you love. People thought the event was sufficiently important to produce an engraving of it, so perhaps it was important enough to do other things, too. And, guess what? The answer says that there is a commemorative plaque marking the location of the statue of the tyrant they fought to be free of, and that the statue's pedestal remained in place for nearly 50 years after the statue was pulled down. Dec 14, 2016 at 10:34
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    Fun fact, the American's melted the statue and used the melted metal to make the bullets that they then shot at the British with.
    – Trevor
    Dec 14, 2016 at 22:25

1 Answer 1


This turned out to be hard to find, but not impossible...

The Teach US History web page you linked to contained an interesting footnote:

(4) Marks, Arthur S. “The Statue of King George III in New York and the Iconology of Regicide,” The American Art Journal 13 (Summer 1981): 62

That article stated that the statue was a duplicate of one installed in London and also contained this further interesting footnote:

As to the appearance of Wilton's statue, we are stymied. As will be seen, neither monument -- that erected in London or in New York -- exists any longer; nor is there any visual record known of either. No topographical drawing or print, or sculptor's drawing, for example, has come to light which might give a specific sense of what the statue had looked like.9

  1. However, for the New York version there are some early plans of the area which locate the Bowling Green and the position of the statue's pedestal in its midst; see Stokes, vol. 1, pls. 46Aa, 46Ac, pp. 356-57, 360.

Stokes is The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909, which does contain this description and this drawing of the area as it existed then:

Plate 46 A-a
A Plan of Fort George at the City of New-York
Wash drawing on paper. 17 x 27½ Date depicted: c. 1773
Author: Claude Joseph Sauthier.
Owner: Library of Congress, Div. of Maps and Charts (Faden Collection, No. 95).

This plan is the most complete and detailed representation of the Fort that we possess. It must have been drawn prior to December 29, 1773, when the buildings in the Fort were destroyed by fire, and after August 16, 1770, as it shows the statue of George III, erected on that day in the Bowling Green. This statue was demolished on July 10, 1776, although the pedestal remained until 1818 (see Pis. 51 and 52).

To save you a trip through a badly constructed PDF, Plate 46Aa looks like this:

Plate 46Aa

Plate 46Ac turned out not to be interesting for this question.

The fence is exactly the same fence today as then, and is in the same location, so the statue would have been approximately where the George Delacorte memorial plaque currently is, at the northern edge of the fountain.

As you can see, America has largely forgotten that a statue of King George III ever stood here, and indeed, this park is also known as Evacuation Day Park to commemorate the departure of the last British troops on November 25, 1783.

Evacuation Day Plaza street sign

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    "forgotten": not in the least. There is a plaque on the fence that commemorates the statute. See nycgovparks.org/parks/bowling-green/monuments/139..
    – phoog
    Dec 14, 2016 at 5:07
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    Oh hello, I never noticed that. Must have gotten distracted by the bull's balls or something... Dec 14, 2016 at 5:08
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    @phoog Yes, I can see it there. I just never was on the plaza between the park and the museum, so I would have missed it. Definitely distracted by the bull's balls. Dec 14, 2016 at 5:37
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    @Tom "commemorate: to call to remembrance"; it is impossible to call an object's destruction to memory without also calling the object to memory. But if you prefer, I would happily accept some other word than "commemorate" if you can think of a better one.
    – phoog
    Dec 14, 2016 at 7:42
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    @Tom I really think you're splitting hairs here. The plaque commemorates the events surrounding the statue. The question asks if there is a plaque or marker denoting the location of the statue. The answer shows that, yes, there is. Phoog has already offered to replace the word "commemorate" with something more suitable, if you have any suggestions. Are we done, now? Dec 14, 2016 at 10:38

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