Completed in 2023, we rehabilitated 35,000 square feet of granite on the walls of Fort Wood. This project included minor cleaning; masonry repairs such as fixing cracks, patching, and resetting blocks; and installing new mortar in the joints between blocks. In some places, the stone was in such bad condition that the blocks needed to be replaced altogether.
Why did we undertake this project?
Fort Wood is an eleven-pointed, star-shaped fort built between 1808 and 1811 as part of New York’s harbor defense system. The Statue of Liberty's pedestal was built within this Fort Wood on Bedloe's (now Liberty) Island. In its 200 year history, the fort has needed periodic maintenance as it has weathered storms and seawater. This project is the latest example of that maintenance.
Crumbling and missing mortar throughout the granite facade was the most concerning issue. The mortar’s poor condition allowed rainwater to leak inside the fort and caused the granite to deteriorate at a rapid rate. Another important issue that needed addressing, was the poor condition of some of the stone. On the top of the fort’s walls sit large, heavy blocks called coping stones. The coping stones were fabricated not from granite, but from a low quality marble and have experienced significant deterioration. Many of these coping stones were replaced through this project.
The park’s historical resource specialists worked with architects, engineers, and masonry conservators to make sure these repairs are in keeping with the fort’s character and appearance. While Fort Wood is overall in good condition, this project will ensure the structure stands strong.
Last updated: December 19, 2023