UPDATE: OREGON (WIFR) – A conservation crew began removing limestone blocks from the base of the Chief Black Hawk statue in Oregon.
The 103-year-old landmark awaits approval from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency before any work can be done on the actual statue.
Organizers say they hope to begin work next month.
OREGON (WIFR) – A local historical statue will need more than just cleaning in order to restore it.
Ken and Chris Williams have spent the last half decade trying to make the century old Black Hawk Statue along the Rock River in Oregon look brand new.
“The statue is in terrible disarray,” says Ken Williams. “If we hadn’t start this, this year where they at least preserve it and start fixing it, I’m afraid the statue wouldn’t have stayed up. It would’ve been completely destroyed.”
The couple helped raise more than $700,000 to start restoring the structure this summer but after this year’s harsh winter, engineering crews say they have their work cut out for them.
Architects say there’s a lot more damage to this statue in the last seven months than they originally thought, including pieces of the statue already falling off.
“We know that there’s internal damage but we won’t know how much there actually is until we remove the exterior surface.”
Frank and Charron Rausa are part of the group spearheading the restoration process. The goal is to fix cracked and missing pieces of concrete and remove several white spots of calcium buildup.
Engineers say the Statue’s arms, elbows and middle robe area will need the most work.
It’s a process that may take nearly a year to finish, but Williams says it’s all worth it to fix the sculpture and restore pride.
“This is the legacy for the future generations and this si what we can provide right now to help with teat legacy is to let our grandchildren and their children continue to see this wonderful statue.”
The process is expected to start next month. Crews have to finish more tests and once that’s done they plan to start work on the statue by late summer.
The group also received a $350,000 grant from DNR. Repairs are expected to wrap up next summer. There will be a rededication ceremony in July 2015.
OREGON, Ill. (AP) -- The brutal winter was rough on the historic Black Hawk statue in northern Illinois.
Frank Rausa is leading the effort to repair the century-old figure. He said Tuesday that testing found "the damage is a lot worse than we thought."
The 50-foot-tall Ogle County statue stands on a 125-foot bluff overlooking the Rock River at Lowden State Park. It pays tribute to Native Americans and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Rausa is with the Friends of the Black Hawk Statue. He says a news conference is planned to discuss the extent of the damage and plans for repairs.
The Telegraph in Dixon reports that orange fencing went up this week at the base of the statue to protect visitors in case pieces fall from it.