The site was acquired by the City through condemnation in 1896 for the purpose of building a public park. It formerly contained one of the many brownstone milestone markers, built 1769, that denoted the distance of various sites from City Hall.
The square, named for Union General Judson Kilpatrick, opened in 1908 with a central walk flanked by grass plots and lined with trees and benches. In 1922, it was renamed for Admiral George B. Dewey, a naval hero in the Spanish-American War. Dewey Square also provided the inspiration for and title of a 1947 song by great jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker, who lived in the area at the time.
Who is this square named for?
In 1964, former Councilman J. Raymond Jones sponsored a local law to change the name of Dewey Square to A. Philip Randolph Square in order to honor the great union organizer and civil rights leader, A. Philip Randolph. The current design and configuration of the square may also date to the local law that renamed the park.
To learn more about A. Philip Randolph, click here.