Workers Making Progress on Chief Wapello Statue

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By Liz Blood

OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) — Workers are making progress on the restoration of a 119-year-old statue that was ripped from its perch atop the Wapello County Courthouse in Ottumwa during a storm last summer.

The 11-foot tall statue honoring Fox Indian Chief Wapello was blown down in June after metal supports snapped.

Jensen Conservation Services of Omaha, Neb., is handling the restoration, expected to cost about $20,000. Insurance is paying for the work.

Company director Rob Jensen tells the Ottumwa Courier they're replacing the statue's internal armature and straightening out many pieces, including moccasins, hands and the face.

Jensen says repairs are on schedule but he wasn't sure when they would be complete.

After returning from Omaha, county supervisors plan to display the statue for a few weeks, then hoist it atop the courthouse.

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