Repairs to the Constitution Monument
St. Augustine, Florida
September 30, 1988
Repairs to the Constitution Monument were undertaken at
the request of the City of St. Augustine, on the basis of
recommendations contained in a condition report submitted by
Historic Property Associates, Inc., July 23, 1988.
The work consisted of the following:
1. Removal of the original 24" X 36" marble tablet on
the east side, and its replacement by a replica which
had been inserted in the west side in 1953.
2. Crating the original tablet and delivering it to
the director of the Lightner Museum.
3. Stabilization and repair of the original stucco on
the base of the Monument.
4. Infill of the void on the west side that was
created by removal of the replica of the tablet placed
there in 1953.
5. Repairs to the stucco on the granite steps that
surround the monument.
6. Historic research on the original construction as
well as subsequent modifications and repairs.
Work commenced on Monday, August 29, 1988 with the removal
of both the original and replica tablets. The work proceeded
without difficulty, although the replica had to be cut loose
with a masonry saw because it had been set in place with a
portland cement mortar. Newspapers found behind the replica
were of the Jacksonville Journal, dated Tuesday, April 28,
1953. The void left by the removal of this tablet was filled
with a standard portland cement/lime mortar mix, applied in
several coats to within one-half inch of the surrounding
surface. A stucco composed of five parts white sand,
two-and-one-half parts of lime, and one part of white cement
was used as a finish coat as well as to patch deteriorated area
on other parts of the monument. A latex concrete bonding
agent, "Sure-Fix", manufactured by the W.R. Bonsal Company of
Charlotte, North Carolina, was added to the water in a one part
additive to three parts water ratio.
The original tablet was secured by three iron clamps, one
on each side, and one on the top. These had rusted through. The
tablet was only held in place by a narrow band of lime mortar
surrounding the outside edge. During the process of removal, it
was discovered that someone had apparently removed the tablet
some time ago, since a groove approximately four inches wide
and the height of the tablet was found on both sides. This was
infilled with small coquina blocks held in place by a lime
mortar. A hard, brown mortar was used to infill the space
between the Monument and the back of the tablet. It had the
appearance of a modern non-shrink grout. It had not bonded to
the back of the tablet.
The replica tablet transferred from the west to the east
side of the Monument to replace the original was secured in its
new location by means of a non-corrosive metal clamp located
near the top center. This was set in a non-shrink grout. The
space between the Monument and the tablet was filled with a
soft foam insulation material to prevent mortar or stucco from
bonding to the tablet. The grooves on both sides were infilled,
utilizing the same small coquina blocks and a standard mortar
mix. The stucco finish was replaced with the same materials
that were used on the west side.
Repairs to the stucco finish were accomplished by first
saturating the existing surface with full strength "Sure-Fix"
bonding agent and then applying a finish coat of the same
stucco used in the tablet replacement phase of the work.
The replacement tablet lacked the Masonic symbol, which
was a part of the original tablet. The original symbol etching
had suffered considerable erosion. A "rubbing" of the original
was made to obtain its size and locating on the tablet. A
replica of the original carving was then etched into the
The above described work was completed September 30, 1988.