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Statue's Long-Awaited Restoration Set To Begin

Guy Stephens
Credit Guy Stephens

Work is finally set to begin on the restoration of an iconic Illinois statue.

Scaffolding has been erected around Lorado Taft’s statue. Known to many as “Black Hawk,” (Taft himself called it "The Eternal Indian") it overlooks the Rock River near Oregon. The crumbling concrete figure has been swaddled in black tarp the last few years to protect it from the elements. Soon, that will come off and restoration work will begin.  

Tim Schweizer of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources said it’s been a group effort.

“[There]'s been a lot of support for this project over the years," he said.  "A lot of local fundraising has occurred. The Department is delighted that work is finally underway on restoring the 'Indian' statue in Lowden State Park.”

Schweizer admits it’s been a long time coming. 

“Certainly there were delays in getting the project going," he said. "But now that it’s started, it’s certainly good news, and we hope that it can be wrapped up here this fall." 

After years of private fundraising, preparations were slowed when the original conservator quit. Then the project was blocked entirely by the state budget impasse.  After further fundraising, a restored state grant and hiring of a new conservator, the IDNR at last gave it the green light.

Credit Guy Stephens

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