Weather, time and vandalism have taken their toll on the 113-year-old Civil War Monument at Lone Mountain Cemetery. Through a grant and donations, the statue was removed Monday to be refurbished at a cost of $82,000.
The 17-foot statue was dedicated on Memorial Day in 1891. The monument reads, "Nevada's Tribute to Union Soldiers and Sailors - March 19, 1891." The original cost of the statue and its placement was estimated at $3,500.
"While it's gone, it will be the first time in 113 years this soldier has not stood guard over the Civil War section of the cemetery," said Gary Parrott, vice-president of the Grand Army of the Republic. "We can just say he'll be out for some 'R and R.'
"The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War have been working with Dave Schultz (cemetery sexton) for a couple of years now to get this done. This statue is so unique. It's the only one of its kind on the West Coast - maybe west of the Mississippi."
The statue is made of white bronze, a nonmetallic zinc alloy, which was state-of-the-art in the late 1800s. The monument was designed and engineered by GAR member and Carson City resident William Hy Doane.
Mercene Karkadoulias' Bronze Art in Cincinnati will do the restoration work. Karkadoulias explained the refurbishing process.
"The five parts of the monument will be disassembled," she said. "We will work the interior first, then exterior.
"We will fix all defects, pinholes, cracks and corrosion, then place a protective coating on the inside. We will make sure it is straight and level with stainless steel supports, bolts and screws, then place a special formulated coat of blue/gray paint on it. And we promise to have it back by Nov. 11, Veterans Day."
The GAR Post 29 was chartered in 1870 for the Union Civil War veterans of Carson City and Ormsby County. More than 80 Union veterans have been identified and their graves documented in Lone Mountain Cemetery.
The GAR petitioned for the remains of 46 soldiers to be relocated from Fort Churchill, after it was abandoned.
The relocation of 43 soldiers' remains was completed Feb. 16, 1885. The remains of three others could not be located.
Parrott had three great-great-great grandfathers in the Civil War: John Mitchell, a private in the 6th New Hampshire Infantry; Thomas Green, in the 10th Tennessee Calvary; and Michael Wease, in the 5th Tennessee Infantry.
Lone Mountain Cemetery Historian Cindy Southerland, who wrote the original grant requesting funds for the refurbishing, is happy to see it come to fruition.
"This is awesome," she said while watching the crane lower the soldier to the ground. "It is so cool for this to be happening. He is going to be gorgeous."
After the soldier was removed, a worker looked inside the second section and discovered cement had been poured inside, within a foot of the top.
"Surprise," Southerland said. "There are no records of anything being inside the statue. We did a survey several years ago and found out concrete was put in to stabilize it. But we don't know if anything else was put in."
Once the refurbishing is complete, members of the GAR, under the command of Paul Washeleski, will compile items to be placed in a time capsule in the base of the statue.
"Then in 150 years when they open it again, they'll find it," said Brian Worcester, secretary of the GAR. "Then they'll put stuff in that can be placed on a computer chip."
The GAR will hold a ceremony on Veterans Day to honor the statue's return.
Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1223.