SARATOGA SPRINGS – A 146-year-old statue erected by the city to honor local soldiers who fought for the Union during the Civil War had suffered an act of vandalism so extensive, officials originally thought it could not be repaired.
Turns out they were wrong: the New York 77th Regiment Monument could be repaired, by a Maryland company for nearly $60,000.
The unveiling is planned for later this month.
The statue was toppled and shattered to pieces in July 2020, outraging public officials and historians at the time.
The vandalism resulted in sections of the statue breaking apart and small parts of the statue, such as the hand, being broken into pieces.
But it has since been fixed and will be re-installed in Congress Park Nov. 16, Public Works Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco said.
The damage was significant enough that it was possible the statue couldn’t be repaired, Scirocco said Monday.
But the city worked diligently to find a company with experience in fixing these types of statues. The city identified Evergreene Architectural Artists of Maryland, which did the work for $58,218.
The monument was donated by Veterans of the 77th Regiment for $3,000 in 1875.
The cast iron and zinc soldier statue was cast from the foundry of J.W. Fiske of New York City, and at the time was a catalog item offered by J.W. Fiske Company.
“It’s outstanding that the same statue donated by the 77th veterans could be repaired instead of requiring a replacement,” Scirocco said.
Immediately following the vandalism, the Department of Public Works worked to find a vendor with experience repairing or restoring zinc statues and learned that Evergreene Architectural Artists had repaired identical soldiers as the City’s.
The statue was transported to the firm’s conservation studio, where repairs were made, a stainless-steel armature was added, and a new coating was applied.
The final aspect of Evergreene’s work is installing the statue back onto its base in Congress Park.
“While the statue was repaired and returned a few months ago, coordinating with the company to come back and install it, making landscaping improvements, and ensuring new security systems were installed in the park were a priority prior to installation,” the commissioner said.
The vandalism was discovered by city police officers during a routine overnight patrol July 15, 2020.
No arrests were made.
Repair costs of $58,218 were covered under the city’s insurance program, the city said.
Community donations of $14,215 were also received for landscaping and security improvements.
The New York State Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee and the Col. George L. Willard Camp #154, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War organized donations.
“I want to thank everyone who worked diligently to repair this statue and for the community support to ensure its return to Congress Park,” Scirocco said.
The regiment took part in all campaigns of the Army of the Potomac and the Battle of Fort Stevens at Washington, D.C. and in the campaign in the Shenandoah Valley under Sheridan.
The statue’s location is in a prominent place just inside the entrance to Congress Park.
Contact reporter Brian Lee at [email protected] or 518-419-9766.