Location: 72nd Street, east side
Artist/Designer: Byron M. Picket
Materials: Bronze, Quincy granite
Funding: Public subscription
Samuel F. B. Morse (1791-1872) has the distinction of being the only person honored with a memorial in Central Park while still alive. A rule was instituted shortly afterward stating that any person being honored with a statue had to be dead at least five years.
Morse is best known for developing the telegraph and its communication method, the Morse code. He had a keen interest in electricity since his college days. His idea for the telegraph came on a trans-Atlantic crossing, when Morse heard a conversation about a new discovery, electromagnetism. Despite disputes about who actually invented the electric telegraph, it was Morse who created the first real means of communicating over long distances with this mechanism. The statue of Morse just inside an entrance to Central Park shows ticker tape that reads “What hath God wrought,” the first words sent over the telegraph.
Morse also was a prominent artist. Working as a portrait painter in New York City, he had many wealthy friends and patrons. Several of his paintings can be seen in New York City Hall, including the Marquis de Lafayette and New York City Mayor William Paulding, Jr.
Samuel F. B. Morse
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