Harroun & Bierstadt, NY/Egyptian Obelisks

“On the morning of December 4th [1879] an attempt was made to pull the upper end of the obelisk over by means of tackles. This attempt failed, owing to the further bending of the heel-beams, which caused the bottom of the obelisk to bind against the top of one of the crabs. [Ancient Roman engineers had braced the uneven bottom of the obelisk with bronze claws shaped like sea crabs.] … Several engineers and others strongly advised abandoning the attempt to place the obelisk horizontal in the manner proposed; and letters were received protesting against the destruction of so valuable a monument by any further attempt to remove it. These expressions … aroused every one associated with me in the work to an extra exertion in order to prove them senseless.”