Winterdale Arch carries West Drive over the Bridal Path
Carrying the West Drive at 81st Street, this arch made of Maine granite, sandstone and brick was part of what was then the Winter Drive – hence, its name.
Completed by 1862, the arch’s wide elliptical arch spans more than 45 feet – the largest span of all the Park’s stone-and-brick bridges. The arch had significantly deteriorated over time, with its ornamental cast-iron railings destroyed by multiple taffic accidents. In 1993, the Central Park Conservancy restored Winterdale and reconstructed the railings, which had been missing for 50 years.
This photo nicely shows how Frederick Law Olmsted, the grand architect of Central Park and Cavlert Vaux, the designer of the arches and other features in the park, carried out separation of different kinds of traffic.
“…all parts of the lower Park may be traversed on foot
without encountering a single carriage or horseman.”
Frederick Law Olmsted, 1859
Here’s a nice find: a photo of Winterdale Arch and its immediate surroundings, taken not long after it was completed. At the time of this photo, the trees were just saplings, and you can see Vaux’ decorative treatment of the abutments.