Skip to main content

How To Repair A Broken Gargoyle

March 2023
1min read

It will be remembered that in a small feature accompanying “The Tallest Building in the World” by Spencer Klaw in our February, 1977, issue, we noted that much of the intricate stone facing on New York’s Woolworth Building had been dangerously weakened by a combination of weather and urban pollution. Some of it, in fact, was in danger of falling off, and to prevent the pedestrians below from becoming even more tense and irritable than usual, the building’s owners had hung steel nets around its towers and turrets and gargoyles while they figured out what to do about the problem.

A solution has since been found. Practicing what might be called architectural dermatology, workmen will be repairing and, where necessary, replacing broken facing with a durable, synthetic mixture of materials. The job is expected to take nearly two years to complete, and the cost, according to J. R. Van Leuwen, executive director of construction, will run to “several million dollars.”

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this 72-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.


Stories published from "December 1977"

Authored by: The Editors

A National Institution That Began With Buggies and Buckboards

Authored by: Stephen W. Sears

It was called “the most extraordinary and astounding adventure of the Civil War”

Authored by: Ray Allen Billington

Our Frontier Heritage of Waste

Authored by: Charles Mack

An American Success Story

Authored by: Hays Gorey

The Era of Hubert H. Humprey

Authored by: Bruce Catton


Authored by: James Thomas Flexner

The Unknown Alexander Hamilton

Authored by: The Editors

A Volunteer’s Eyewitness Account of the War With Spain

Authored by: C. W. Gusewelle

The Seasons of Man in the Ozarks

Featured Articles

Rarely has the full story been told about how a famed botanist, a pioneering female journalist, and First Lady Helen Taft battled reluctant bureaucrats to bring Japanese cherry trees to Washington. 

The world’s most prominent actress risked her career by standing up to one of Hollywood’s mega-studios, proving that behind the beauty was also a very savvy businesswoman. 

Often thought to have been a weak president, Carter was strong-willed in doing what he thought was right, regardless of expediency or the political fallout.

Why have thousands of U.S. banks failed over the years? The answers are in our history and politics.

In his Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln embodied leading in a time of polarization, political disagreement, and differing understandings of reality.