Bierstadt, NY/Egyptian Obelisks

“A few minutes before noon [on January 22, 1881] the Hon. Wm. M. Evarts, Secretary of State [and others] drove up to the foot of Graywacke Knoll, dismounted, and took positions reserved for them on the platform … After a moment’s conversation with Mr. Evarts the signal [to lower the obelisk] was given, and the obelisk slowly turned, the spectators preserving a silence that was almost unnatural. When the obelisk had changed from the horizontal to an angle of about forty-five degrees, I gave the signal to hold it in that position while Mr. Edward Bierstadt made a photograph for which he had made preparations. This seemed to break the spell that bound the spectators in silence, and when the signal was given to continue the turning there arose a loud cheer which was prolonged until the shaft stood erect. 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.”