OREGON – In a matter of weeks, restoration work on the Black Hawk Statue near Oregon is scheduled to be complete.
Earlier this month, the scaffolding was put in place and the long-anticipated work began on the statue, created by Lorado Taft and originally competed in 1911.
“It’s amazing,” said John Lindhorst, president of Oregon Together. “But we’re going to stick right through until it is done, done, done.”
The work is scheduled to be completed by Nov. 4, with a couple of extra weeks after that to take down the scaffolding and remove the fence that is in place during construction.
The Illinois Conservation Foundation is overseeing the work – and writing the checks from money donated locally as well as state matching funds. Locally, $225,000 was raised, including $100,000 donated last year by E.D. Etnyre & Co.
Lindhorst said that 364 freeze/thaw tests were done to determine the best material mixture to use on the statue during the restoration.
“It took a year to get the formula,” he said.
They are even bringing red granite from northern Wisconsin to mix with the concrete. And it is not just any red granite from any quarry.
“The same quarry where Taft got his red granite for the mix,” Lindhorst said.
The next step, scheduled for next spring, will be the re-design of the grounds around the statue. That will include all signage and parking. Lindhorst said the funds are already “locked in” for that work.
He said Oregon Together has had a great working relationship with the ICF, Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Northern Illinois University during this process.
“It’s been a team effort, he said.
The 48-foot tall statue stands 125 feet above the Rock River. It brings about 400,000 visitors per year to the Oregon area.