Seeing a new side of a piece of Delavan history
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This Civil War monument in Spring Grove Cemetery in Delavan has undergone restoration over the last year. These before and after photos show the progress. Photo courtesy of Creative Design by Michele.
DELAVAN--For what the years, weather and even vandals have wrought, it turns out it takes a group of dedicated volunteers and a former dental cleaning product to erase.
Since he discovered it over a year ago, Ken Wargo has spearheaded the campaign to bring back to life a monument to Civil War veterans that has stood in Delavan's Spring Grove Cemetery since its dedication 143 years ago.
Age and pollution had taken their toll on the tall stone monument, topped by an eagle. It was worn and heavily spotted with mold. It had been also doused with oil--the work of vandals sometime in the 1970s, Wargo learned. And it had been neglected.
Wargo spent hours both on the Internet and talking to a variety of people, researching how to clean the stone.
"With a 143-year-old monument the first rule is 'Do no harm.' I learned that power washing is absolutely the worst thing you can do," Wargo said.
But he discovered D-2, a dental-cleaning product that had become the cleaner of choice for everything from cathedrals to sculptures.
Wargo purchased the product from a manufacturer in Maryland.
"It's about as expensive as a gallon of paint, but five gallons did an amazing job," he said, noting that the product had to be applied before temperatures dipped.
A group of volunteers, who also brought their own equipment, including a lift and scrubbers and got the job done.
Wargo has undertaken a fundraising campaign to restore the monument and hopes to also eventually redo the star-shaped walkways around it in the cemetery.
His committee includes representatives from the American Legion, Daughters of Union Veterans, the Delavan Historical Society, city and county government, and the chamber of commerce.
He's raised $6,000 of his $20,000 goal so far, but he isn't discouraged.
"Back when the Statue of Liberty was completed, they needed a pedestal, and at the turn of the (last) century America, people were sending in dimes, nickels and pennies. Many proud Americans made the Statue of Liberty," he said. "This is a project that can really bring our community together. This monument is here and just happens to be located at the crossroads of Delavan. It's always been a focal point for the community. And I think we have a chance to do it right."