Courtesy of Galena Gazette
GALENA–The fountain at Grant Park is taking center stage after months of restoration work. On Wednesday, June 28, Jeremy and Cory White, contractors for the project, turned on the water, stood back and marveled at the fountain’s beauty.
Added to the park in 1891, the fountain was last restored in 2004. As part of the ongoing Grant Park project, a partnership between the city and Galena Foundation, the fountain restoration–including caulking, painting, a new pump to improve the spray and miscellaneous work–is the latest improvement. The project budget was $15,000, with all expenses paid by the foundation. The bid from White Construction was for $14,000.
It’s been quite a project.
During the winter, the Whites removed the center sculpture and four cherubs, as well as the benches on the sidewalks surrounding the fountain. While the center sculpture is original, Jeremy said, the cherubs are all aluminum. No one is certain of the date they were replaced, but they appear very similar to the originals.
After inspecting the center sculpture, Jeremy found major issues that no one was aware of up to that point. He sought the assistance of Galena artist Charles Fach to make the repairs.
Fach, who knew full well what he was getting himself into, agreed. All together he spent 40-and-a-half-hours making a replacement foot and fingers and then ensuring the head was securely attached to the zinc casting sculpture that was soldered and pieced together.
|Galena artist Charles Fach spent 41 hours repairing the sculpture.|
Fach said he found the head of the sculpture held on by a rotten piece of wood. He went to work, logging time each day. He created molds to make the melting lead pieces necessary, a multi-step process. All the pieces were attached with stainless steel screws.
When Fach was finished, the Whites painted the sculpture and put it in place.
“It ought to last a couple hundred years,” said Fach of the restored sculpture.
“We’re extremely fortunate to have (Fach),” said Jeremy, noting that the sculpture probably would have been taken to Chicago for the repair work if Fach hadn’t been able to take on the project. Jeremy estimates Fach’s work was worth at least $5,000.
The work has been significant for Jeremy as well. He remembers falling in the fountain as a child as he tried to grab the coins that had sunk to the bottom.