Friday, February 27th, 2015

Fort Recovery monument renovation slated this year

By William Kincaid

The Ohio Historical Connection plans to restore the facade of the Fort Recovery. . .

FORT RECOVERY - The village's 101-foot-tall obelisk monument - dedicated in 1913 to memorialize U.S. soldiers killed during the Indian Wars - will be renovated this year.
Marred by cracks, broken facings, deteriorated mortar joints and water staining, the 800-ton Fort Recovery Monument and the frontiersman statue at its base have been assigned top priority in the Ohio History Connection's capital improvement schedule this year.
The state organization, which is funded through Ohio's capital budget, has set aside about $125,000 for the project. The monument restoration is one of roughly 30 projects OHC hopes to complete this year, project architect Fred Smith told the newspaper.
Smith said in addition to surface blemishes, he's also concerned about the possibility of water penetration at the monument's joints. The structure's inside is hollow and breathes, allowing most moisture to escape, but OHC wants to make sure it is draining properly.
"The intent of the project is to identify the most serious conditions, which affect the structure and appearance of the monument, create a list of priority items with costs and execute as many of those items as possible within the budget," the OHC proposal states.
"I am particularly interested in discovering the condition of the concrete structure under the granite facing," Fort Recovery State Museum Director Nancy Knapke said. "Of course, we need to complete repointing the mortar joints and thoroughly clean the stone and remove the stains."
Officials in March will inspect and assess the condition of the facade, terrace, steps, paving and other elements of the monument, according to a tentative schedule.
Construction documents and specifications will be drawn and bid out in May. The actual work likely will occur between June and September.
"I really wanted to have it done for (the monument's) centennial a couple of years ago but we weren't able to do it," Smith said.
Knapke said having the monument restored before its 100th anniversary in May 2013 would have been nice but she understands OHC maintains several sites in need of repair.       Several hundred people gathered at Monument Park for the centennial to reflect upon the key battles responsible for the nation's westward expansion.
During the event, Fort Recovery families and officials, state dignitaries and descendants of combatants who fought in the area filled the lawn around the monument that sits atop the largest tomb of unknown soldiers in the United States.
The towering structure honors the men, women and children who died in the Battle of the Wabash, also known as St. Clair's Defeat, in 1791 or in the Battle of Fort Recovery in 1794.
Comprised of North Carolina gray granite, the monument was authorized by President William Howard Taft and constructed by the Van Amringe Granite company of Boston, Mass., in late 1912. It was modeled after the Washington Monument, according to Knapke.
"This monument isn't built to commemorate a defeat or because of the greatness of that (first) battle," keynote speaker John Winkler told the crowd during the centennial event. "It's because the story of those battles is part of a larger and greater story, and that is indeed one of the greatest stories, perhaps the greatest story in American history, and one of the greatest stories in the history of human beings - and that is how there came to be a transition from 13 small colonies ... into a great nation from ocean to ocean that would tower over the 20th century, at least, like a great colossus."
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