- Roslyn School District
More Progress on Horse Tamer Restoration
UPDATE: Work Begins on New Pedestal
SEP 28, 2018 - Construction of a new pedestal for the Horse Tamer began in September, with a new foundation for the statue. Completion of the restoration project, and the return of the Horse Tamer to the circle in front of the high school, is anticipated in 2019.
MAR 23, 2018 — The long-awaited restoration of Roslyn High School's Horse Tamer has begun.
Work has begun to bring the life-size marble sculpture, which stood in front of Roslyn High School for half a century, back to its former glory. A fundraising effort spearheaded by Friends of the Horse Tamer, a local organization of Roslyn alumni and residents, has raised more than $177,000, including private contributions and grants from the Gerry Trust and Nassau County. The Roslyn School District will underwrite the cost of any additional work to prepare the site for the sculpture's return.
The restoration is being undertaken by North Shore Monuments of Glen Head, which restored the companion Horse Tamer that now stands in Gerry Park. When completed, it will be returned to its location in the circle near the main entrance of Roslyn High School.
The Horse Tamer has long been in serious need of restoration. The sculpture had stood in the circle in front of the high school's main entrance for more than 50 years. It was one of a pair that had been commissioned more than a century ago for the grounds of the Mackay estate, called Harbor Hill, on what is now Country Estates. When the estate was demolished and ground was broken for new homes in the 1950s, the statue was knocked off its pedestal and earmarked for destruction, until local artist George Gach discovered it lying on the ground in pieces. Given the historical connection between the Mackay family and the school district, he asked the Board of Education if it would provide a new home for it.
The high school is built on land that was donated to the district by Clarence Mackay in 1923; Mackay's first wife, Katherine, had served on the Board of Education from 1905-1910. Gach arranged for the statue to be moved to the high school, and personally undertook some repairs.
In 2012, the Horse Tamer was removed from the high school because its condition had deteriorated and the district was concerned that it might collapse. Around that time, the Friends of the Horse Tamer was formed to preserve this important historical monument, which had become an irreplaceable symbol of the high school for generations of students. It has remained in storage for safe keeping while funds were raised.
The restoration is complex and painstaking, and includes sculpting several part of the statue that were lost to vandalism and the weather over the years. It will take upwards of a year to complete. The beautifully restored Horse Tamer in Gerry Park provides an excellent model of how the high school's Horse Tamer will appear when completely restored.
Donations are still gratefully accepted. Visit the website of Friends of the Horse Tamer: www.friendsofthehorsetamer.com
PHOTOS: (top) The school district is pleased to see the start of the restoration: (left to right) Directory of Community Relations Barry Edelson, Board of Education President Meryl Ben-Levy, Superintendent of Schools Allison Brown, and Asst. Supt. for Business Joseph Dragone.
(bottom) Work in progress at North Shore Monuments in Glen Head.
Important note: If anyone is aware of the location of any parts of the statue that have gone missing over the years, their return would be appreciated. NO QUESTIONS ASKED. The return of these parts would greatly assist in the restoration process. Time is short, as the restoration has begun! Please contact the Community Relations Department at 801-5090.