Alexander Hamilton Gets a Facelift
Friday, September 7, 2012 • 6:01pm
PATERSON, NJ - Skilled staff from Gettysburg National Military Park’s Monument Preservation Branch spent three days in Paterson this week giving the 95” statue of the City’s founder, Alexander Hamilton, a much-needed washing and waxing.
“It’s good to see something like this come together were we can use our expertise at Gettysburg to benefit our newest national park,” said Lucas Flickinger, a supervisory exhibit specialist. “This is a great example of how inter-Park cooperation can be used to preserve our historic resources."
The statue, which sits on a granite pedestal, was sculpted by Franklin Simmons in 1905 and unveiled at City Hall Plaza in Paterson on Memorial Day in 1907. In 1964, it was moved to its current site in Overlook Park where, fittingly, the bronze Hamilton overlooks the Great Falls. The back of the statue’s base includes the plaque which designated the Great Falls a National Natural Landmark in 1967.
The cleaning and maintenance process, which required the construction of scaffolding around the statue, started with a simple power washing. Once the bronze dried, the staff removed any remaining wax with a cloth and then painstakingly applied a layer of hot wax using a blow torch. The last step was to lay on a second coat of cold wax and buff every inch and nook of the bronze to a high sheen.
“The before and after is simply amazing,” said Darren Boch, park superintendent. “Hamilton was, as biographer Ron Chernow said, ‘the supreme messenger of America’s future,’ and it was therefore gratifying to see the great care and attention to detail the crew from Gettysburg placed on making Hamilton shine for our visitors.”
Alexander Hamilton, the influential Founding Father and first Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, visited the Great Falls in 1778 accompanied by General George Washington. Hamilton would later push for the United States to become a manufacturing power and he chose the Great Falls of the Passaic River as the location for the nation’s first planned industrial center.
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