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Vatican Obelisk
New York Obelisk
Peter the Great

Cleopatra's Needle comes to New York

Centuries of Civil Engineering

Gorringe, Henry H. (1841-1885)
Egyptian Obelisks.
New York: Published by the Author, 1882.
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On July 20, 1880, a ship carrying an ancient Egyptian obelisk docked in New York to begin the final stage of an engineering project that started several months earlier in Alexandria, Egypt. The project engineer, Lieutenant Commander Henry H. Gorringe, had successfully removed the obelisk known as Cleopatra's Needle from the site where it had stood, leaning slightly toward the sea, since the time the Romans had moved it from its original site in Heliopolis. Several weeks later, on January 22, 1881, the obelisk was placed in its present position near the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Central Park – a gift of the Egyptian government to the people of the United States.

"It is something to have witnessed the manipulation of a mass weighing nearly two hundred and twenty tons changing its position majestically, yet as easily and steadily as if it were without weight. It was to me an inexpressible relief to feel that my work was complete, and that no accident or incident had happened that would make my countrymen regret that I had been intrusted with the work of removing and re-erecting in their metropolis one of the most famous monuments of the Old World and the most ancient and interesting relic of the past on the American Continent." – H.H. Gorringe.


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