A man stands and stares at slabs of granite
John Horton at Freshwater Stone in Orland looks at some of the complicated cuts in his granite that will be used at the Statue of Liberty. Credit: Ethan Genter / BDN

ORLAND, Maine – A stone company in a small Hancock County town is taking on a big role to help restore one of the nation’s most iconic landmarks.

Later this month, Freshwater Stone in Orland will haul the first of about seven tractor trailers worth of granite from its Frankfort quarry to New York after being hired to replace 23 stone walls that run around the Statue of Liberty.

Company officials estimate they’ll spend thousands of hours working on more than 1,000 pieces of stone for the walls at Fort Wood, the 11-pointed, star-shaped historic military installation that lady liberty stands upon.

About a quarter million pounds of cut stone from Freshwater’s quarry at Mosquito Mountain will be used on the project and be installed throughout the year.

The fort, used as part of the New York defense system in the War of 1812, was built between 1808 and 1811. While much of the structure is granite, some lower quality stone used underneath stone veneers has been deteriorating, prompting the need for repairs.

To match the rest of the sturdier granite, the National Park Service, which owns the fort, has been working with architects, engineers and masonry conservators to find companies that can do repairs that keep the fort’s historic character.

While stone walls may seem simple, these ones get pretty complicated, according to John Horton, the architectural stone manager at Freshwater. The star shape requires a lot more angular cuts, as do slanted holes built into the walls that are designed to let water run off the base.

“It’s slanted this way, it’s got an angle this way, and on the top there’s a 12-degree pitch,” Horton said, going over complex wall diagrams.

Some of the more than 1,000 pieces of granite from Freshwater Stone in Orland that will be headed to New York to replace walls at the Statue of Liberty. Credit: Ethan Genter / BDN

Freshwater also came up with the idea to distress the stone, something the parks service latched onto.

“It’s going to look like it’s been there for a long time,” said Andrew Odeen, Freshwater’s general manager.

This isn’t the first high profile job the company has undertaken over the years. They’ve cut and provided stone for a monument at the FBI Academy in Virginia, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, the Dallas County Courthouse in Texas, Witherle Memorial Library in Castine and the iconic stone bridges in Acadia National Park.

But this job holds a special place in Odeen’s heart.

“The Statue of Liberty is a landmark that every American knows,” he said. “We’re really honored and happy to be working on such an iconic landmark.”