The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 18, 2008


Lady Liberty rehab moves forward

The "Goddess of Liberty" that commands the rotary in Carlisle Center is on her way to a therapeutic scrubbing, if the Community Preservation Commission (CPC) and Town Meeting voters approve.

Jane Anderson of the Garden Club's Civic Committee came before the Carlisle Historical Commission on January 8 to request its support for cleaning the monument. After 125 years in the rotary, the statue's surface has been damaged by gypsum crusts caused by acid rain and lichen growths. The Garden Club hopes to secure funding through the historic preservation provision of the Community Preservation Act, which requires the support of a town committee, in this case the Historical Commission.

Anderson presented a proposal from Ivan Myjer, a highly recommended building and monument conservator from Arlington. He proposes erecting scaffolding, cleaning the statue using one of several suggested products and filtered local water. The job would be completed in one or two days.

Myjer estimates the cost of cleaning at $3,250, to which Anderson added $320 to cover a police detail. The Historical Commission recommended adding a contingency amount and voted to support the proposal "at a cost not to exceed $4,000." Included in the proposal was a recommendation to have the statue cleaned on a regular basis, perhaps every five years, to avoid further deterioration.

Anderson had secured a second proposal from a preservation consultant who came to Carlisle on January 7 to inspect the monument. That estimate was significantly higher than Myjer's and was rejected.

Anderson had asked Myjer to include an estimate for carving a new marble finger to replace the missing digit, rumored to have been lost to a fireworks prank many years ago. The replacement would have cost $7,700, and the Commission declined to approve this action, persuaded by Larry Sorli's contention that historical restoration does not support the replacement of a missing piece of a monument. For the foreseeable future, the Goddess of Liberty will continue to preside over Carlisle without the benefit of her index finger.

2008 The Carlisle Mosquito