Beautifully restored monuments return to Hewitt Quadrangle

September 17, 2020

Students and visitors can once again walk through the Memorial Hall Rotunda and out onto Hewitt Quadrangle, where the newly restored World War I Memorial Cenotaph and Ledyard Flagstaff proudly stand. As part of the Schwarzman Center renovation, work on that area and the monuments began in 2018. In mid-September it reopened to foot traffic.

The limestone cenotaph, dedicated in 1927, honors the 225 students and alumni killed in WorldWWI cenotaph War I. A cenotaph is essentially an empty tomb or a monument erected in honor of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere. The memorial flagstaff honors Lieutenant Augustus Canfield Ledyard, a Yale alum who died in 1899 during the Philippine-American War. These monuments are part of the Memorial Hall building, which honors alumni who died in wars dating back to the Civil War.

Over the past 90+ years, both monuments had become weathered and deteriorated. Removed by hand and crane, both pieces were carefully taken apart and sent to Materials Conservation Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Prior to the restoration, the cenotaph was wet inside and had some exterior cracks and fissures, so during restoration it was cautiously dried out. Comprised of 20 limestone pieces, and filled with a brick core, each stone was cleaned and repaired. Its large, slate face, which displays the memorial engraving, was cleaned and the letters repainted in gold.

The flagstaff, made from a tree commonly used to make wooden sailboat masts, was repaired and rLedyard Flagstaffepainted, while its highly decorative bronze collar was restored to a glossy brown. The pole is set into a stepped granite base. Before repair, it had turned green and contained numerous split seams. Both items were removed and replaced on the plaza by Dimeo Construction Company of New Haven, Connecticut.

Three members of the Yale Facilities team were integral to this project: Michael Douyard, Associate Director of Planning and Construction, Maggie McInnis, Senior Architect & Planner, and Michael Gibbons, Associate Construction Project Manager. Maggie worked closely on the materials conservation aspect, while Michael Gibbons helped coordinate all the vendors and the on-site work. Michael Douyard oversaw the entire project.

Conservators inspected all the pieces before they were returned to Hewitt Quadrangle. “While these elements are small, they still requires a team of people to get the job done. I think the challenging part is moving and restoring these historical pieces that we all know are so important to the University,” said Maggie.

 Thanks to all who worked on this project:
  • Dimeo Construction Company
  • Michael Douyard, Associate Director of Planning and Construction
  • Michael Gibbons, Associate Construction Project Manager
  • Maggie McInnis, Senior Architect & Planner, and
  • Materials Conservation Company

Lisa M. Maloney, Internal Communications