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92-Year-Old Hackensack War Monument Undergoes Careful Restoration

The war monument in Hackensack has been restored.
The war monument in Hackensack has been restored. Photo Credit: Hackensack.org

HACKENSACK, N.J. -- Visitors to the Courthouse in Hackensack can get a lesson in local history at the newly-restored war monument.

The Hackensack War Monument, also referred to as the “Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial” is located on the Courthouse Green, and was carefully restored by a specialist under the guidance of local officials.

The statue was created in 1924 by renowned sculptor Charles Henry Niehaus (1855-1935). The base of the monument presents four relief sculptures of war scenes: General Washington at the Battle of Monmouth, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and World War I.

The restoration was undertaken by Robert Neal Carpenter, a sculptor, consultant and lecturer, according to a release by Hackensack officials.

Carpenter cleaned, waxed and buffed the bronze statue, taking special care with problem areas. He also cleaned the limestone base several times, taking great care not to damage any of the reliefs.

After the cleaning, he applied a “consolidation material” to the stone in order to reintroduce the “binder” holding the stone particles together.  Acid rain eroded these particles over the years, causing many of the relief surfaces to wear away.

Carpenter then applied a waterproof coating to extend the life of the consolidation and also enhance the protection of the stone surface while enabling it to breath.

No attempts were made to re-carve fine details lost to time, as this could further damage the artist’s original work, which was highly lauded, according to the release.

The consolidation will now preserve what is left, which officials say present nicely and remains  recognizable.

“We are very pleased to get this work done and preserve this fitting tribute for decades to come,” said Mayor John Labrosse.

The present monument is not what the sculptor originally proposed in 1923. Hackensack’s community influenced the final design considerably, officials said.

The total cost of restoration was $14,250 with a portion covered by a Bergen County History Grant for Special Projects.

Funding has been made possible in part by the Bergen County Department of Parks and the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of Cultural Affairs in the Department of State, through grant funds administered by the Bergen County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs.

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