Bethesda Terrace Arcade

Arcade Arches Under Bethseda Terrace
Arcade Arches Under Bethseda Terrace by Rachel Fawn Alban

Bethesda Terrace Arcade is the arched, interior walkway in the center of the park that links the Mall to Bethesda Fountain and the Central Park Lake. Created in the 1860s, the Arcade features a stunning tiled ceiling and was designed by Jacob Wrey Mould.

 

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The ceiling features than 15,000 colorful, patterned encaustic tiles, made by England’s famous Minton Tile Company, Encaustic tiles, originally used on floors of European cathedrals, are made of colored clays which are inlaid and fired to form the design, as opposed to ordinary tiles where the color is applied to the surface. Bethesda Arcade is the only place in the world where these special tiles are used for a ceiling. It is more common to see Minton’s encaustic tiles used as flooring, for example, in the US Capitol Building.

Arcade Tiles Under Bethseda Terrace
Arcade Tiles Under Bethseda Terrace by Rachel Fawn Alban

Eventually, the 50-ton ceiling weakened and deteriorated. In the 1980s, the tiles were removed for cleaning. The beautifully restored Bethesda Terrace Arcade re-opened to the public in 2007.

 

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