NYC - Union Square: Independence Flagstaff - Tyranny
Although this flagstaff commemorates the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, it is also known as the Charles F. Murphy Memorial Flagpole. The intricate bronze bas-reliefs, standing 9½ feet high, and plaques were completed in 1926 by sculptor Anthony De Francisci (1887–1964), and set against Perry Coke Smith's granite base.
On its south side is the entire Declaration of Independence, cast in bronze, with the names of all the signers. On the west side, a series of reliefs shows the effects of tyranny. On the east, the reliefs show the effects of liberty, culminating in a woman holding an infant whose head is "haloed" with thirteen starts, representing the original thirteen American states. The base of the pole displays emblems from the original 13 colonies. The enormous flagpole, said to be one of the largest in New York State, is capped with a gilded sunburst.
The Independence Flagstaff was a gift of the Tammany Society, and replaced a flagstaff built during the tenure of Tammany president Charles F. Murphy (1858–1924), a boss in the infamous political machine. After Murphy’s death, Tammany supporters wanted to dedicate this bigger and better flagstaff to Murphy. Public sentiment prevented honoring a symbol of Tammany corruption in a manner commensurate with Lincoln and Washington at Union Square Park, and by the time the Murphy Flagpole was dedicated on July 4, 1930, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, it was referred to as the Independence Flagstaff. The flagstaff has been restored extensively through the years, most recently in 1987 when the stone pedestal was renovated and the flagpole reinstalled.
Union Square National Register #97001678