Orono’s Civil War soldier has his musket back, work begins on ornate pedestal, artist says

Posted Aug. 17, 2014, at 4:48 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — The musket and bayonet that were ripped from the historic Civil War soldier statue in town — installed 125 years ago to honor the 39 local men who died during the five-year war — have been replaced.

“I permanently mounted the musket a few weeks ago,” Peter Crockett of Argyle, an artist and pipe welder hired by the Orono Historical Society to refurbish the statue, said Sunday. “He has his bayonet back, too. Pretty much everything is done on the soldier himself, besides a cleaning and waxing.”

Maine’s weather and human culprits damaged the monument over the years. The gun and bayonet were stolen, the statue’s head cracked and the 12-foot base it stood atop buckled. After it was deemed too unsafe to be on public display, the memorial statue was put into storage six years ago.

Crockett, who owns Argyle Iron Works, got to work on the 6-foot-tall statue in February. The life-sized metallic zinc figure wears a Civil War uniform and cap and has a militia overcoat draped over its right shoulder.

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Fixing the 12-foot pedestal is phase 2 of the project and the deadline is fast approaching. The historical society would like to rededicate the statue on July 4, 2015, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, fought between April 12, 1861 and April 9, 1865.

“Tomorrow, the historical society is going to come out and get a quick look at it so they can consider my proposal to eliminate the bottom and top segments because of their damage,” Crockett said.

The historical society would like to repair the monument’s unique pedestal because “it’s decorated with a significant amount of artwork — carriages, floras, infantry, artillery,” the artist said.

It is beautiful, but repairing the top portion alone could cost in excess of $20,000, Crockett said. Repairing both the top and bottom segments could run more than $50,000, he said.

“We should have that decision be the end of next week,” Crockett said.

The historical society is currently campaigning to fund phase 2 of the restoration project.

The group is scheduled to hold a collectibles and more sale Saturday, Sept. 6, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at the Keith Anderson Community House. Donations of quality items are still being accepted for the sale. To donate an item, call 866-2597.

Those interested in making a contribution toward the restoration can contact or send a check to Orono Historical Society, PO Box 234, Orono, ME 04473.


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