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Using a pulley system, the 10,000 pound bell about to be lowered into a crate

Earlier this year we watched as the scaffolding went up on the only surviving watchtower in Manhattan.  The Harlem Fire Watchtower, built between 1855 and 1857, is located in Marcus Garvey Park at the end of Fifth Avenue on 120th Street in Harlem. Over the course of the last few month, the tower, including the 10,000 pound bell, was taken down.  The following are photos we took over the past few months, during the dismantling.

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This is the only surviving watchtower of the eleven cast-iron watchtowers throughout New York City

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The bell was once used by fire watchers to spread the word of a fire by ringing the bell

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As the bell was lowered into the crate, it rang several times

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All crates on a lower level of the Acropolis, with extended scaffolding for lowering each piece

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The tower was designated a City Landmark in 1967 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

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Scaffolding went up in December 2014. In this photo, the watchtower & bell are in tact.

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With the watchtower completely dismantled, the scaffolding was removed in early May 2015

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You will notice the pulley system used to hoist the historic pieces to move into crates

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A cast iron column from the watchtower before being crated. Photo source:  Connie Lee

Below is a photo taken this month, after the scaffolding came down and everything removed.  The restoration and return of the watchtower is expected during the summer of 2017.  In the meantime, the Acropolis will remain active with a number of programs already planned including a pop-up art installation on May 31st and a public art installation later this summer.

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The now empty site where the fire watchtower has stood since 1857

You can keep up with the restoration and some of these activities on the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance website or on their Facebook page. Get in touch with the author at AFineLyne.

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