Benjamin Franklin went to work getting the nation’s first monument sculpted 236 years ago. After being shipped from France to the United States, it sat around for ten years before being attached to the front of the St. Paul’s Chapel which is located in Lower Manhattan. This monument is considered to be the nation’s first official monument. It was said Franklin hired an artist to create it on a strict budget, but it of course has lasted many years. Before arriving to Manhattan, the monument was sent to Edenton, N.C. It was then sent to Manhattan after Ben Franklin wrote asking why it was still unpacked and not put to use. Finally, three years later it was in Manhattan and being installed on the exterior of the chapel by Pierre L’Enfant, an architect and civil engineer.
Restoration will begin on the sculpture beginning Tuesday. It will be taken apart, cleaned, touched up, and repaired by professionals. The monument has many cracks, paint damage and other damage due to previous restoration and repairs. Glenn Boornazian, the conservator in the project, says, “There are a lot of cracks,” and he is prepared to fix them all using grout and materials from the period.
The chapel and monument have been the setting for many presidents such as former President George H. W. Bush. 200 years prior, our founding father, George Washington sat in the pews of the chapel. He was known to have gone to a church service there after his inauguration.