George III Statue toppled


The July 9, 1776 reading of the Declaration of Independence in "the Fields," or City Hall Park by George Washington, incited a lively demonstration of support. A crowd proceeded down Broadway to Bowling Green Park and toppled the gilded equestrian statue of George III. The finials/ornaments at the top of the fence posts were also cut off. According to folklore, the statue was chopped up and shipped to a Connecticut foundry under the direction of Oliver Wolcott to be made into 42,088 patriot bullets at 20 bullets per pound (2,104.4 pounds). The statue's head was to have been paraded about town on pike-staffs but was recovered by Loyalists and sent to England. The King George III statue had been commissioned in 1766, along with a statue of William Pitt, from the prominent London sculptor Joseph Wilton, as a celebration of victory after the Seven Years' War. With the rapid deterioration of relations with Britain after 1770, the statue became a magnet for the Bowling Green protests. In 1773, the city passed an anti-graffiti and anti-desecration law to counter vandalism against the monument, and a protective cast-iron fence was built along the perimeter of the park; the fence is still extant, making it the city's oldest fence.The William Pitt Statue was toppled by the British in retaliation for the destruction of King George III's statue.

Destroyed, July 9, 1776

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