WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (Morris County) – Bert the Eagle was removed Thursday due to safety concerns after inspections by insurance and preservation experts, township officials said.
The sculpture will be stored at the Washington Township Department of Public Works.
Research on restoration and replacement options are ongoing and will continue to be discussed at Township Committee meetings.
The Liberty Eagle, which was located at the intersection of Schooley’s Mountain Road and Flocktown Road, was sculpted in 1999 from the dying Liberty Tree.
The Washington Township Committee commissioned Harry Robinson of Bernardsville to carve what remained of the tree into a sculpture.
When Robinson first arrived to inspect the tree, all he found was a big, tall stump. He immediately knew there was an eagle to be found in the old tree.
Robinson created sketches of what he expected to sculpt, made a rough outline with a chainsaw, and finished the rest of the carving by hand, using only a mallet and a chisel. It took six months to transform the centuries-old tree into our well known patriotic landmark. The Liberty Eagle was dedicated on Veteran’s Day, 1999.
Bert has twice been struck by trucks, once in 2010 and again in 2014. He was also attacked by termites and powder-post beetles. Bert is currently repaired, pest free and in very good shape. He should continue to oversee traffic on the mountain for generations to come.
The Memorial Stone at the base of the Liberty Eagle reads: “DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF ALL THE VETERANS OF WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP WHO SERVED OUR COUNTRY SO THAT FREEDOM MIGHT PREVAIL”