Waldo Hutchins Bench

     There are over 9,000 benches in Central Park, and without a doubt the most unique one is just off the Inventors Gate entrance at east 72nd street.  This massive semicircular marble bench is the work of Waldo Hutchins (1822-1891):  Central Park Commissioner and part time furniture artist.

     In 1888 the parks department was looking for a simple bench that could be mass produced and used all over Central Park, providing visitors a place to sit and enjoy nature’s beauty. Several furniture designers provided sample benches crafted from wood and iron in a variety of sizes and styles, but no one was prepared for what Waldo Hutchins brought to the contest.

     Hutchins liked his furniture the same way he liked his women: cold, hard, and impossible to move. What better material to use for park benches Hutchins believed than fine Italian marble?

     At 4 feet high, 27 feet long, and carved from solid marble, Hutchins boasted his bench would stand up to the elements and never require maintenance, and since it weighed several tons, would greatly discourage even the most dedicated thieves.  

     The parks department passed on Hutchins oversized bench concept, sighting a conflict of interest as he was Parks Commissioner at the time.  Hutchings continued undaunted to design unique home furnishings made entirely from marble until his death in 1891. His line of monogrammed sheets and bath towels met with mixed results.  

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