Roswell P. Flower Monument Conservation—Public Square Historic District

Watertown, NY

The Governor Roswell P. Flower Monument, located in the Public Square Historic District in Watertown, NY, was unveiled in 1902 to honor the only native northern New Yorker to have been elected governor of the state. The entire monument is approximately 18 feet-tall. The heroic-size bronze sculpture was commissioned in 1900 to brothers Augustus and Louis Saint Gaudens. Henry Bacon, the architect, collaborated on the commission by designing the granite pedestal. The bronze was cast by the Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company of New York.

We performed the first comprehensive treatment of this monument since its installation nearly 100 years earlier. The goals of the treatment emphasized minimal intervention by using the least aggressive means possible to achieve the most successful conservation results. We conducted prior testing to determine the most effective methods and materials for the treatment.

We cleaned the statue’s granite base to remove biological growth, carbon crusts, and general staining. The large chips in the stone were repaired using stone dutchman cut from stock salvaged from other site stones. Mortar joints were cut out and repointed. The bronze sculpture was thoroughly cleaned to remove remnants of old coatings and corrosion. The sculpture was then fully repatinated using traditional hot-applied methods and a wax coating to help protect the bronze substrate from the elements.

In 2009, we returned to provide conservation treatment and consulting for the monument. We collaborated with City personnel to inspect and clean the stone and bronze portions of the monument, and provide a reapplication of wax to the bronze statue, as well as provide training to City personnel for the continued maintenance of the monument.