Conservation Solutions, Inc: Art + Architecture + Artifacts

Soldiers and Sailors Monument Assessment - Public Square Historic District

Site
Public Square Historic District, Watertown, New York

The Soldiers and Sailors monument was erected in 1891 through a generous bequest and popular subscription and was dedicated to the heroic citizens of Watertown who fought in the Civil War. The monument is approximately 50 feet tall upon a raised earthen berm, and consists of an allegorical figure of Victory atop a column with decorative capital, plinth, and base. The monolithic die is adorned with commemorative bronze plaques on the east and west elevations, and by a cast bronze soldier and sailor on the north and south sides, respectively.

The monument was beginning to show visible deterioration, commensurate with its age and location. Bronze elements were marred by disfiguring black and green streaking. The base showed evidence of open joints and water infiltration, accompanied by biological growth and calcium carbonate deposits. Cracks, uneven soiling and metallic staining were also observed.

Conservation Solutions, Inc. (CSI) was contracted in 2009 to perform a condition assessment of the monument. The objectives of the assessment were to document the conditions of the monument, make recommendations for its conservation, and provide a budgetary cost estimate for the recommended work. The monument was assessed both from ground level, as well as from the aerial platform of a fire truck (provided and operated by the City). The monument was monitored with a transit level, which indicated it was not leaning in any direction. Recommendations for treatment included re-pointing the joints with lead wool, re-setting a fractured stone, carefully removing metallic stains, and treating the bronze elements through a series of cleaning, spot-patination, and waxing.