MARQUETTE - The last bit of work is expected to be completed today on the restoration of the Father Marquette statue.
Members of the Venus Bronze Works - a Detroit-based company - have been working over the past months to restore the statue to its original state. They replaced all of the missing pieces on Monday and then cleaned the statue.
"It needed the restoration. It's been in disrepair for far too long," said Emily Lewis, president of the Marquette Beautification and Restoration Committee.
From left, Giorgio Gikas, head of the restoration project, along with his crew, Tad McKillop and Zach Zalac, examine some of the detail work on the newly-restored statue. (Journal photo by Abbey Hauswirth)
Tad McKillop welds the new pieces in place. McKillop is a member of Venus Bronze Works, a Detroit-based company, that works in sculpture preservation. They were hired by the Marquette Beautification and Restoration Committee to restore the Father Marquette statue. (Journal photo by Abbey Hauswirth)
Tad McKillop works on putting the final pieces in place. The statue is expected to be completely restored today. On July 15, a celebration is planned to commemorate the work done and present the statue back to the city of Marquette. (Journal photo by Abbey Hauswirth))
Lewis said it has been 100 years since the statue was moved from the bottom of Ridge Street to its new location, north of the Lake Superior Community Partnership.
"We thought for the 100 years it'd be nice to have it (statue) restored and then have a memorial."
The memorial will take place July 15 and will include a presentation by Marquette Mayor Johnny DePetro, as well as the leading sculptor of the project, Giorgio Gikas. Gikas will also make a presentation at the Hampton Inn the morning of the celebration, to speak about how he restored the antique.
Lewis said although the statue is restored, the project isn't finished.
"We want to work on landscaping the park, lighting the statue and making the park handicap accessible."
Abbey Hauswirth can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 240.