Maine’s Freshwater Stone and Brick has long made a name for itself restoring stone to sites of historical significance, including the Brooklyn Bridge and Cathedral of St. John the Divine, as well as most bridges in the park. Acadia National.
Today, the Orland, Maine company is replacing a deteriorated granite base of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor using Freshwater Pearl granite from Mosquito Mountain at its Frankfort quarry, John Horton said. , responsible for Freshwater’s architectural stone.
He described the freshwater pearl as a speckled gray stone.
“Our masonry is going to be around for hundreds of years and will be seen by millions of people,” Horton said proudly.
Jeff Gammelin, who founded Freshwater Stone in 1976 with his wife, Candy, added: “This is the kind of project that opens up new job opportunities. We strive to enter [more] restoration masonry.
Speaking with American Ellsworth, Horton detailed his company’s work for the Statue of Liberty.
He described the project as being “a sandwich construction” where the older granite on the exterior of the monument resembles that shaped by Freshwater Stone.
“But on the inside wall, there’s this local limestone that the whole Hudson Valley is made up of,” Horton explained. “The limestone doesn’t hold up very well, dissolving and disintegrating over time. So they’re going to remove a lot of the limestone and then install our stone as a veneer.”
The first phase of the rehabilitation project is expected to be completed in early July, the American reported.
The work on the iconic American statue is on behalf of the US National Park Service (NPS), which maintains the monument and tourist attraction.
Complicating the project is the design of the statue’s base, which was shaped like an 11-pointed star for defensive purposes in the 19th century when Liberty Island was originally used as a fort.
“It’s complicated geometry to put together,” Horton said. “There are over 1,000 pieces of stone of varying sizes and angles. It will require at least six or seven tractor-trailer loads of stone traveling from Maine to New York.”
The Freshwater Stone Quarry team in Frankfort is currently cutting large slabs of stone to prepare them for trucking across the Penobscot Narrows Bridge to Orland, where the slabs will be cut into blocks of varying geometric proportions.
The company develops stone professionals
Freshwater Stone has been in business since 1976 and owes its longevity, at least in part, to attention to detail.
To that end, the company is distressing the edges of stone blocks — a feature Horton said the NPS didn’t know to ask for. To do this, his company will use torches and hammers.
“If they were to just put fresh cut stone [on the statue] without distressed edges, it would look like a subway station,” Horton explained.
Gammelin has built Freshwater to succeed by making its projects an enterprise-wide effort, employing a variety of skills.
“Probably half the people who work here will touch the stone,” Gammelin said, adding that there are plans for qualified Freshwater masons as well as new hires. Currently, the company employs 58 people.
Gammelin said working for Freshwater Stone provides employees with the opportunity, even at an entry level, to do meaningful work.
“You’re doing something that’s going to last a long time,” he told the American.
Premium drilling products increase bottom line
“Over the past three years, we have made significant investments in our mining operations,” noted Andy Odeen, Managing Director of Freshwater Stone. “We purchased a WORD Raptor line drill and a Sandvik Commando DC130 hammer drill in 2021, and an Atlas Copco DC30 Down the Hole drill in 2020. These investments allow us to significantly increase the amount we can mine in one year, taking less installation/breakdown time and [they] are more environmentally friendly than our other drills.
“The two new drills are twice as fast as the existing drills,” he continued. “This is in addition to a new wire saw and generator which, since 2017, has increased our ability to saw quarry benches four times faster than our previous wire saw.”
Gammelin recently traveled to Europe to purchase a new Wires Engineering Easy 11 Plus gantry from a company in Toulouse, France.
“This is one of several pieces of equipment that we are considering purchasing as part of a future expansion of our architectural division,” Odeen said.
The company, which has been in existence for 46 years, has four divisions: the architectural stone division, the construction stone division, the manufacturing workshop and the quarries.
Statue of Liberty One of many historic renovations
American Ellsworth reported that, time and time again, Freshwater Stone has proven its ability to deliver historic renovation projects that require blending old and new as seamlessly as possible.
Of the many projects he has undertaken over the years, helping to replace the old stones of the 135-year-old Statue of Liberty could give Freshwater its highest profile. This certainly instills a huge source of pride within the Maine company.
The base sits atop an 89ft. pedestal, according to a story of the statue, and was designed by famed engineer Francis Hopkinson Smith, with help from Alexandre Gustav Eiffel, who created the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Other historically significant projects Freshwater Stone has completed across the United States include the installation of pink stones at the White House as well as work at the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History and Culture in Texas and the Public Library. of St. Louis, Missouri.
In its home state, the full-service quarrying company worked on the Witherle Memorial Library in Castine and performed stone restoration on horse-drawn carriage trails and bridges in Acadia National Park on the coast of Maine. .