Black Hawk Statue Receives Repairs

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OREGON (WIFR) -- Historical landmarks can often be the victims of time.

He's been watching over Oregon and the Rock River since 1908 and on the year of his 106th birthday, Chief Black Hawk is expected to glisten in the sun once again.

The concrete structure has been slowly falling apart and a fix up could spark new interest.

"It's really important to keep state parks and sort of state treasures in good form so that people will be interested in coming to see them," said Vicki Devylder, a visitor to the statue.

But there is no more time for waiting. A crew began testing on the 268 ton figure on Tuesday to determine how much work needs to be done.

Workers from Dynasty Group out of Chicago are using radar and ultrasonic equipment to map out the memorial inside and out.

Architects need that information to make sure the landmark won't crumble in the future.

"As you can see, there'a a lot of visual deterioration, but it's like an iceberg; you always see a portion of it and there can be a lot of internal damage," said Frank Rausa, a member of Friends of Black Hawk.

The group that took charge of the Sauk Warrior monument's revival, Friends of Black Hawk, have been hard at work raising money.

In 2009, the group helped anoint the chief an historical landmark and for the members, it has not been an easy journey.

"It's sometimes very stressful because every year we thought that we'd get him done and every winter, he got worse," said Charron Rausa.

With the monument being located in Lowden Memorial State Park, the restoration project has moved slower than expected due to the rules and regulations of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

And although 98 percent of the estimated $725,000 project has been raised, donations are still encouraged with an expected increase in price when the bidding process begins in the spring.

Friends of Black Hawk have had their hopes deteriorate since their effort began in 2008, however, it now seems like Chief Black Hawk will only have to last one more battle with the winter.

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