Repairs Gone Wrong – botched cleaning on City Hall Honor Roll plaques require corrective restoration
And the qualified help that’s needed is underway!
What do you do when your home repair goes very wrong? Upon evaluation, sometimes you just have to hire a new contractor to remedy mistakes. In the fall of 2014 memorial honor roll plaques in City Hall received some cleaning. The monuments were due some attention. Over time the names were no longer legible and the surfaces were grimy defeating their noble purpose. Gloucester’s outstanding City Archives and the Cape Ann Office of Veterans Services were and are able to help with research for those who can’t come in person or see them clearly.
photo caption: BEFORE photograph of one of four WW1 honor rolls in the rotunda City Hall, ca.2014
The 2014 project was not handled by the city nor administered through its committee for the arts, of which I am a member. Funds were raised privately to work on the plaques. Though well intentioned, those restoration efforts were botched (and costly at the time, so I’m told.) The names were made more visible, but the plaques were damaged and results are scratched, streaked and blotchy.
A small annual budget (FY2018 $4000) that’s set aside for care of City arts and culture and monuments as part of its mission must now be redirected to fix the fix. Yes, “Sometimes you have to hire a new contractor to remedy mistakes,” frustrating, but necessary. Perhaps the 2014 group will reimburse this cost.
Throughout 2018, you may see specialists from Skylight Studios repairing plaques within City Hall through the Committee for the Arts on behalf of the City. (Gloucester residents may recall that Skylight Studios was hired by the Commonwealth to restore the bronze doors of the Abram Piat Andrew Bridge; the doors were temporarily displayed at Cape Ann Museum before being reinstalled.)
The detailed work on the City Hall plaques will be completed in brief, focused intervals. One plaque in the rotunda will be restored last, because it’s a great opportunity to show before and after examples of contemporary restoration projects- the good, the bad and the quality. As the plaques are repaired, the detail of the raised carving and borders and most importantly the names of so many veterans will become easier and easier to read and remember.
Gloucester Ma Veterans Honor Rolls and Monuments
*author note- this post is listing interior Honor Rolls within City Hall; it’s not a complete list for all tributes in Gloucester
GROUND FLOOR, CITY HALL
Spanish American War- “Men of Gloucester who served in the War with Spain volunteers all 1898-1902. Gloucester ‘s men, serving on land and sea won for their city the honor of giving to her country the largest per capita of men in this war. Erected by the City of Gloucester 1930.”
World War I Honor Rolls (rotunda and upstairs)
World Ward II Honor Roll (outside clerk’s office)
Korean Honor Roll (outside clerk’s office)
Vietnam Honor Roll (outside clerk’s office; Brian Hamilton 1980 painting of fisherman)
just outside Kyrouz Auditorium, FIRST FLOOR, CITY HALL
“Civil War (1861 1865)This tablet records the service of Company G 8th Regiment MVM in the Civil War; and War with Spain (1898 1899) occupation of Cuba; and World War 1917 1919″ Corrective repairs are underway on this trio Honor Roll. Waxy build up added in 2014 is being removed all over, and names in a small lower right corner have been attended.
The multi story memorial to Gloucester fishermen lost at sea was a major public art project led, designed and hand painted by Norma Cuneo, with Irma Wheeler and Ellen Ferrin in 1978, a beautiful shrine lighted by day by two tall windows. Mark Newton, then city clerk-historian, and Jerry Cook were lead researchers; the team eventually compiled a card index that could be accessed by the public along with checking this massive lost at sea mural. Research incorporated historic materials like The Fishermen’s Memorial and Record Book, by George H. Procter, published by Procter Bros. in 1873, printed matter, family archives, and newspapers. Volunteers and historians amend the sources and statistics over time. The sense of the power of a name and life is inspiring. The response and need to a tangible, accessible record was tremendous. Their work was the basis for the cenotaph installed in 2000 by the Fisherman at the Wheel memorial on Stacy Boulevard, a sacred place and pilgrimage site accessible day and night.