In 1889, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of George Washington's inauguration,
a wooden arch was built across lower Fifth Avenue about half a block north
of Washington Square. This temporary structure was constructed of plaster
of paris and wood, and lit by hundreds of light bulbs. The people of New
York liked it so much they commissioned architect Sanford White to build
a permanent marble monument, which was completed in 1895. For many, this
beautiful triumphant arch, is the single most important symbol of Greenwich
-The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation .