by Kevin Walsh

Oblivious to the pigeon perched on his head, a relaxed William Earl Dodge presides over the lunchtime crowd at Bryant Park.

No matter how rich or powerful you might be, 100 years after your death it’s anyone’s guess if anyone will still recognize your name. William Earl Dodge (1805-1883), the “Christian Merchant,” was a dry-goods manufacturer, a leader in copper and metals trade (Phelps Dodge Corporation), a civic leader, vocal opponent of slavery and an organizer of the Young Men’s Christian Association (the YMCA) and the National Temperance Society.

Originally in Herald Square in the triangle formed by Broadway, 6th Avenue and West 35th Street, John Quincy Adams Ward’s 1885 Dodge monument was moved to Bryant Park in 1941 to make way for the James Gordon Bennett Memorial “Bell Ringers Monument,” which itself was being moved from another part of town. At times, NYC can seem like a chessboard.

Bennett was president of the New York Herald.


1 comment

B.James January 4, 2018 - 1:19 pm

Hello. I live in Texas, and work for a title company on wind energy projects in the western part of Texas. In Baylor County in researching title for a project, I came across the deeds in and among William Henry Higgins, Mary Caroline Higgins, , William Earl Dodge, Daniel James, Elizabeth Jane Higgins, Frederick Carrother Higgins, and many others, descendants of the families. I became curious about William Earl Dodge after reading his probate in which he describes bequeathing his vast estate to various Christian and community organizations. I wanted to know more about this man, so began searching for his name, and find this mention of his statue in Bryant Park. I am impressed that a man of his wealth and power succumbed not to the lure of power and worldly prestige but he humbled himself under the hand of Almighty God and used his God-given wealth and power to bless and advance the Kingdom of God, and to advance the progress and betterment of America through the businesses he had a hand in.


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