Covert Monument (c. 1936)
3800 Mount Bonnell Road, Austin, Travis Co.
National Register of Historic Places
CONSERVATION MERIT AWARD
Owner: City of Austin | Conservator: Silver Lining Art Conservation, Bartlett Stone Carving and Vault Fine Art Services
Original Builder/Craftsman: Anton Stasswender
In 2008, the Covert Monument broke to pieces. The monument lay broken for seven years with large fragments still onsite until the preservation community of Austin demanded its repair. Mount Bonnell has served as a popular attraction since the 1830s. The 1938 Covert Monument is the oldest man-made feature of the site and was carved by Anton Stasswender. The monument commemorates the conveyance of Covert Park at Mount Bonnell by Frank Covert, Sr. to Travis County.
For its restoration, the two main stones were attached using epoxy. A hydraulic crane positioned a third piece in place and it was joined to the primary stones with titanium pins and epoxy. Following the successful reattachment of the three stone fragments to the original stone, the team worked onsite for two weeks to complete the restoration. After injecting grout into the body of the stone to strengthen the monument, the team mortared and tinted the joints using a “Dutchman” repair technique, which involves salvaging and carving stone to match the existing stone missing from the face. The Historic Covert Monument Restoration Project overcame many hurdles and through its success, stands as a model for similar projects. The monument had been broken and in disrepair for more than seven years and yet, professional evaluation proved that restoration was possible. Further, the project demonstrates a municipal park system’s commitment to protecting historic resources.