The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 2, 2004


Rotary goddess needs care

by Ellen Huber

The "Goddess of Liberty" at the Civil War monument in the center of town looks diseased. The statue of Italian marble, dedicated in 1885, is now heavily spotted on both the front and back.

She's showing her age. (Photo by Ellen Huber)

Kay Fairweather, Mosquito Biodiversity editor, closely examined the statue this week and diagnosed the rash. "The discoloration on the statue at the center of town is lichen. There are at least 3 species of lichen present. In addition to the impact on aesthetics, there are other concerns. The fungal component of a lichen is capable of penetrating several millimeters into the surface of rock, taking advantage of tiny crevices and beginning the process of soil formation. Lichens also produce carbonic acid which can eat into rock, especially rocks rich in calcium carbonate, like marble. Our lady of the rotary is made of marble. While breakdown of rock by lichen is extremely slow, measured in decades or even centuries, it is of concern in a monument."

Jim Fannin of Fannin—Lehner Preservation Consultants in Concord says that the first attempt to solve the problem should be to scrub the spots with a firm brush and water. If more drastic measures are needed a professional restorer would be required.

Fannin and Carlisle Historical Society officers Stephanie Upton and Sarah Brophy speculated that the use of Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds for restoration of the historical monument would be appropriate. By law a minimim of 10% of the town's CPA funds must be used for historical preservation.

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito