The Mount Morris Fire Watchtower is a representative of New York’s 200-year-old cultural heritage. It was a very enjoyable process for us to perform the booster engineering work which is made of cast iron. Ahmet Topbas, who designed the structural restoration under Thornton Tomasetti, is providing voluntary consulting.
Mount Morris was one of only 11 fire watchtowers located at various points of New York City in 1857. However, the other 10 towers were scrapped with changing plans over time. Today, this last tower (Mount Morris) in Mount Marcus Garvey Park, just north of Central Park, could survive. Since the tower is located within the Harlem district, it is also known as the Harlem Fire Tower.
Although restoration and engineering designs were completed 10 years ago, the funding support could be provided in 2013-2014. The tower has an extensive NGO support. The public support shown by Harlem residents is also as worthy as the NGOs. There is even a special website just for the tower: www.firewatchtower.com. Thanks to this intense support, the construction tender was finally realized in 2017. The renewal process is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.
In the restoration design a minimum intervention is planned for stability of the tower. Only addition to the existing system were the stainless steel rods around the perimeter, which are barely visible and suiting the existing structural language, and the stainless steel slender beams under the cupola columns which had not been supported properly in the original scheme. The existing members will also be refurbished, and they will be mixed with the cast iron elements which had to be replaced.
We will share the restoration progress with you.
We wish Mount Morris a long life.