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Ben Franklin statue takes a tumble

City of Boston

Ben Franklin might be good at experimenting with lightning. But he’s no match for the wind.

On a particularly blustery Sunday, an 1856 statue of Ben Franklin positioned along the city’s Freedom Trail came tumbling down.

Bonnie McGilpin, a spokeswoman for Mayor Martin J. Walsh, said city officials believe the bronze statue fell over around 1 p.m.

Images shared by the mayor’s office show that the head of the Franklin statue cracked the ground below it when it toppled.

McGilpin said high winds pushed a nearby tent into the statue, causing it to fall backward off of its pedestal. No one was injured.


“It is being inspected now and then we should have more details to share,” she said in an e-mail. “The Boston Art Commission is working with a professional curator on the repair plan.”

The area where the statue typically stands, in front of Old City Hall, was closed off Monday. Crews could be seen placing the Franklin replica into what looked like a body bag.

Karin Goodfellow, executive director of the Boston Art Commission, said the portrait statue could be gone from its perch for a month or longer. It will be transported Tuesday, she said, to Daedalus Inc., a studio in Watertown that specializes in the conservation and restoration of sculptures.

Goodfellow didn’t know the extent of the damage to the statue. “It doesn’t seem like it’s anything that dramatic, but you can see that it bent the sidewalk under it,” she said. “So there may be an abrasion at the back of the head.”

The Franklin statue marks the School Street location where the original Boston Latin School, the oldest public school in America, was located. Franklin was a former student, according to the Freedom Trail’s website.

“Ben Franklin, though one of America’s greatest minds, is also one of its most notable dropouts,” the website says.


The statue was designed by Richard Saltonstall Greenough, according to a website that outlines the history of Old City Hall.

The statue was wrapped in a bag. City of Boston
Officials believe the bronze statue fell over around 1 p.m.City of Boston
The area where the statue typically stands, in front of Old City Hall, was closed off Monday.City of Boston