|John Purroy Mitchel: E90|
b. Fordham, N.Y. d. Louisiana
Sculptor: Adolf Alexander Weinman 1870-1952 USA
Engineers Gate features an elaborate stairway with a terrace that leads to the Central Park Reservoir above. Central to this terrace is an elaborate monument with a gilt bust at its center of a man who most Park visitors would undeniably not recognize. He is John Purroy Mitchel, New York Citys youngest Mayor. Running on a fusion reform ticket he won the mayoral election in 1913, at the age of 35. Credited with curbing the corruption of Tammany Hall he won acclaim nationwide for his reform minded approach to government.
Though progressive in many ways his educational policies which favored vocational training created controversy and protests among immigrants who viewed this position as an effort to deny their children a proper liberal arts education and in effect deny them upward mobility. In 1917 he lost the mayoralty to the Democrat John F. Hylan, who vigorously opposed Mitchel's views on education, in an overwhelmingly defeat.
After the loss, he enlisted in the Army Air Service as a WWI pilot where he met his untimely death just one year after leaving New York during training in Louisiana when his plane mysteriously crashed. Speculation had it that he actually fell out of his plane because he forgot to buckle his seat belt.