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Moline Artist & Bronze Recreate Civil War Soldier

Michelle O'Neill
The original Volz marble statue (left) and the reproduction in bronze (right)

A new, bronze statue to honor soldiers killed in the Civil War is complete. But it'll take more time and money to put the soldier back on display. Wednesday afternoon, Rock Island County Sheriff Gerry Bustos unveiled the re-creation of the marble statue of a Civil War soldier which used to stand atop a 35-foot pedestal in front of the courthouse.

Credit Michelle O'Neill / WVIK News
Sheriff Bustos (left) smiles and laughs as Artist John Ketner talks about the process of recreating another sculptor's work of art.

Moline artist and sculptor, John Ketner, made the new statue out of clay. After molds were made from the clay statue, a foundry in Colorado cast the pieces in bronze which were welded together. 

Members of the Quad Cities Chapter of the Civil War Roundtable, Rock Island County Historical Society, and local reenactors are helping with the project.

Captain Ron Erickson, from the Rock Island County Sheriff's Office, says the base and column need a lot of work, and he's not sure how much it will cost to repair them. 

The monument features the names of about 400 local soldiers who were killed in the Civil War. But Erickson many are illegible, and research has been done to recreate them in bronze.

The goal is to rededicate the entire project on the 150th anniversary of the monument's dedication. Around 30,000 people attended the ceremony on April 9th, 1869.

Donations to the Rock Island County Civil War Soldiers Monument Restoration Project may be sent to P.O. Box #3384, Rock Island, IL 61201.

Officially, Michelle's title is WVIK News Editor. She does everything there is to do in the newsroom and whatever may be needed around the radio station.