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Acid Rain Claims Gravestone of Revolutionary War Hero

August 19, 1986

LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. (AP) _ Acid rain has claimed the 209-year-old marble gravestone of Revolutionary War hero Gen. Nicholas Herkimer, preservation experts say.

The marble gravestone that stood over the general’s grave for more than two centuries was recently replaced by state officials with a new marker made of acid-resistant polyester.

″Marble is very susceptible to damage from acid,″ said Heidi Miksch, decorative arts conservator for the state’s Bureau of Historic Sites.

Richard Haberlen, a regional historic preservation supervisor for the state agency, said he is convinced acid rain is damaging to public monuments, despite denials by some federal officials.

″This is proof positive,″ said Haberlen. ″This is something that no money could buy back.″

The original marker will be displayed inside protective housing, Haberlen said.

Herkimer played a key role in the Revolutionary War during the summer of 1777 when he helped stymie a planned three-pronged attack by the British. He died days after after a fierce battle in which Herkimer and his troops were ambushed. Herkimer was wounded in the opening moments of the battle.

He was buried outside of the village of Little Falls, located about 70 miles east of Syracuse.

Acid rain has been attributed by some experts to pollution from Midwestern factories and power plants.

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