• City of New York 1686 seal design West Side Highway

    I was pleased to locate one of these 65# cast iron City charter seals like the ones I had in the 1970s and was able to buy it just now, there were 5 different designs and I have 2 of them, now this 3rd one. I used to have a few complete sets of them.

    They were made around 1928-1934 to decorate the sides of the old elevated Wes t Side Highway that ran along the Western edge of Manhattan. The artwork was designed by noted sculptor Rene Chambellan,though these seals had to be very specific, already made designs, so he had little leeway or say on the actual designs, but he made the master models for these.
    The highway itself was shut down for good in 1973 after a section of the roadbed collapsed under a truck, and it was demolished in stages over about 20 years.

    The city totally neglected the ironwork, and the liberal use of road salts combined meant this substantially built structure was already falling apart and had to be condemned in just 45 years…

    About 800 to 1,000 of each design of the seals were cast, I dont know how many were salvaged, certainly not all of them but I read that the city had about 800 of the for sale around 1980. The city had many for sale in the city store way back then for $150 as is, or $250 sandblasted ($450 and $750 in todays’ money) I got this one today for $499- basically the “inflation” amount difference between what the city was selling them for around 1980 and what that amount is today.

    I remember some guy on Ebay from Nebraska had one of these for sale a decade ago, it was given to his mom years before by a friend and sat in the farm field leaning against a stock tank. Well this guy thought he found a gold mine, he said; “it came off a Civil War calvary wagon and was worth a lot of money!!!” He wanted some ridiculous price like $1500, quite a bit for something sitting on the farm field that they got for free as a gift!

    He meant “cavalry wagon” LOL and even so his story was pure fabricated bullshit, I even sent him photos of MINE front and back showing they were identical to his and he still insisted HIS had to have come off a Civil War wagon LOL!!

    Oct 2nd

    The lye bath took less than 15 minutes to remove all the old paint off the iron, leaving a little surface rust that is mostly now wire brushed away. Waiting on the can of Gibbs’ spray to rub out the rest and clean it up.
    I need to make a flat steel bar with two holes in it to mount on the back to hang it on the wall.