While admiring the building you might notice that the dome on top of the building is made of copper, not black slate, which does not match the French Second Empire style.
It turns out it used to be black slate. Then sometime in the 1920's, it changed from slate to copper.
If you have ever come to visit us here at Old City Hall, one thing you got to admire is the Old City Hall building. From its granite pillars to its square shaped dome, you have got to admire that French Second Empire style.
However, there is no written record of this happening, but there is photographic evidence of the change. Without written record of the change we don't know why someone would want to change the historical integrity of building.
If you came to visit us at Old City Hall this summer, you probably noticed this sculpture standing perfectly in the shade. Today's blog post is about him, Josiah Quincy III.
Josiah Quincy III was born on February 4, 1772. He was the son of Josiah Quincy II, a politically active lawyer and patriot. From 1805 to 1813, he was elected to the U.S House of Representatives from Massachusetts. He was part of the minority Federalist Party. During his time there, he attempted to exempt fishing vessels from the Embargo Act, urged the strengthening of the Navy, and vigorously opposed admittance of Louisiana as a state. In 1823, he became 2nd Mayor of Boston under a city charter (the city was settled in 1630). During his time as mayor he organized the construction of Quincy Market, it is named in his honor. He later became president of Harvard University in 1829. He died July 1, 1864.
Since Ben is over in Watertown getting cleaned and treated, we have had more time to appreciate the pedestal Ben had been standing on before he fell. This pedestal captures the important stages of Ben Franklin's life. These events not only had a significant affect on Ben's life, but on the country as well.
Franklin became apprenticed in the Boston printing shop belonging to his brother James at the age of twelve. When he was seventeen he went to Philadelphia and by 1730,at the age of 24, he had set up his own printing business and newspaper, which gave him a forum for political expression. This led to his involvement in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.
In 1776, Benjamin Franklin was appointed to the committee tasked with drafting the Declaration of Independence. The committee also included Thomas Jefferson, Robert Livingston, Roger Sherman, and John Adams. After several drafts, Congress finally approved the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. It was signed on August 2, 1776, and contained the signatures of 55 representatives of the 13 colonies, including Ben Franklin's.
The "Treaty of Peace and Independence" refers to the Treaty of Paris signed on September 3, 1783, which marked the end of the American Revolutionary War. Ben Franklin was there as one of the representatives for the U.S.
ERIPUIT CAELO FULMEN SCEPTRUNQUE TYRANNIS
This Latin phrase translates to:
He snatched the thunderbolt from heaven and the scepter from tyrants.
This refers to the famous experiment where Ben Franklin tied a key to the string of a kite and flew it during a thunderstorm. This proved his observation of electricity and lighting being the same to be correct.
While our Ben is recovering at the Daedulus Studio in Watertown, we decided to honor him with a post not just simply about him, but of Benjamin Franklin sculptures from across the U.S. For example, Benjamin Franklin in Washington D.C and on the University of Pennsylvania campus.
First let's talk about our good old Ben. This statue of Ben on the left was sculpted by Richard Greenough and presented 1856. Greenough understood that Bostonians wanted to honor him because he was born in Boston, he was thoughtful, dignified, kind, and selfless. The material used to create the sculpture was bronze, not marble and so he can share in our New England weather.
Above, center, is the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial in Washington, D.C. It was sculpted by James Earle Fraser and presented 1938. It weighs 27 tons and rest on a pedestal that is 83 tons. The material used is Seravezza marble and it honors Ben Franklin as a founding father. It became a U.S National Memorial on October 25, 1972.
Last, and to the right, is the Benjamin Franklin statue found in front of College Hall on the University of Pennsylvania campus. Having been born in Boston, Franklin moved to and lived most of his adult life in Philadelphia. Being a trustee and founder of this IVY League institution, the bronze statue conveys Benjamin Franklin as the inventor, and scientist. It was sculpted by John J. Boyle.
We had the opportunity to visit our dear old Ben at the Daedalus studios in Watertown. Seeing him in person at ground level was a very unique experience - the scale and breadth of detail in the sculpture are amazing to see close up. Greenough’s capturing of Ben’s essence is remarkable, from the detail along the flaps of his jacket pockets to the just so crook of his neck. We will be glad when we have him back home so we can admire him once again on a daily basis.
In the meantime, he has been fully cleaned and stripped of old wax treatments, making him ready to be patinated and restored. Our friend Josh at Daedalus is sampling different gradients of patina in the effort to find the most appropriate and appealing look.
At the same time he is working on repairing and filling any voids and spots where the original casting has worn. After the repairs are made and the patina is applied, Ben will be coated with protective wax and sealant to protect him against the elements of our lovely New England climate.
Once he is returned to his perch here at Old City Hall in early Fall, he will go back to his regular maintenance schedule to keep him looking sharp.