NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – What is said to be America’s first national monument is getting a much-needed facelift.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb: They’ll Reassemble It On The Spot

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The marble and limestone General Richard Montgomery monument was installed on the Broadway side of St. Paul’s Chapel in Lower Manhattan by Pierre L’Enfant in 1787.

General Richard Montgomery Monument at St. Paul's Chapel - New York, NY (file / credit: Wikipedia)

General Richard Montgomery Monument at St. Pauls Chapel - New York, NY (file / credit: Wikipedia)

“We’re seeing significant breakage in areas where there’s sub-surface metal that has oxidized and expanded and caused localized pressures,” says conservator Glenn Bornesian. “There’s lots of previous repairs that have accelerated decay of the monument. There’s bleaching from the surrounding paint.”

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That’s not to mention cracks from acid rain and the freeze-thaw cycle.

Bornesian says they’ll carefully take it apart and, using stainless steel clips and a mortar formula from the 1700s, restore and reassemble it on the spot.

He hopes the restoration will be completed by July 4.

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The monument was commissioned in Paris by Benjamin Franklin in 1776 with money from the Continental Congress.