One of several small monuments in the vicinity of what is known as the“Battle Pass” in Prospect Park, the Dongan Oak Monument commemorates events which took place in this area during the Battle of Long Island on August 27, 1776. During this significant battle of the Revolutionary War, a large white oak mentioned in 1685 in the patent of Governor Thomas Dongan, was cut down by Colonial soldiers and thrown across the road to impede the advance of the British army. Soundly defeated from their entrenched spot on Redout Hill, the soldiers retreated across what is now the Long Meadow, joining The Maryland regiment for a final resistance near the Old Stone House of Gowanus.
The monument, which commemorates the contribution of this important tree was commissioned at a cost of $2,000 by the St. Nicholas Society, and was dedicated on November 25, 1922. It consists of a bronze eagle mounted on a granite pedestal inscribed with dedicatory text. The sculptor of the original eagle was Frederick W. Ruckstull, whose public commissions also include the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial in Major John Mark Park in Jamaica, Queens.
The eagle was stolen in 1974. In 1991 the Prospect Park Alliance sponsored the restoration of the monument and replication of the bronze eagle. Sculptor John Metrovics modeled the replacement based on historic photographs, and Alexander J. Ettl, the president of the Sculpture House, the original foundry, again supervised the casting of the replica. The restored monument was rededicated on June 6, 1991. The reinstallation included site improvements and new plantings around the monument. Unfortunately, the eagle was stolen again, but through additional contributions to the Prospect Park Alliance, a second replacement was made and attached to the plinth. Today, it stands proudly as a testament to the fortitude of the Colonists and the park’s caretakers.
Prospect Park National Register #80002637