Monday, May 22, 2006

Vandals Still Sought

The article below is reprinted from the York Daily Record. For more information, please refer to this earlier blog entry (The Sad Damage & Needed Assistance)

Search Continues for Gettysburg Statue Vandals
In two cases, repairs prove difficult.
Daily Record/Sunday News

May 21, 2006 — Gettysburg park officials hope information about civil war monuments vandalized three months ago will turn up but have researched options to repair two of the statues if missing pieces aren't recovered.

Gettysburg National Military Park officials have taken leads since three monuments - honoring the 114th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, the 11th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and the 4th New York Battery - were the targets of vandals Feb. 16, but are still looking for information to help lead them to the responsible party.

The Pennsylvania statue was fixed and returned to its base in March, and repairs to the historic cast iron fence around it are more than half finished, said Katie Lawhon, spokeswoman for the park.

Figuring out how to repair the other monuments has taken a little more investigation.

Internet research led to a monument in New Hampshire that contains an artilleryman identical to the one depicted in the New York monument at Gettysburg, where the statue's head and rammer were stolen, Lawhon said.

Although they hope the parts will be recovered, park officials could make a mold from the New Hampshire statue and cast new bronze parts, she said.

Repairing the Massachusetts monument, a carved granite arm holding a sword, is proving more challenging. The arm was shattered and parts, including the sword, stolen.

The park already had a pattern for the bronze sword, which had been stolen before. However, the arm is harder to replace.

"Sculpting the new granite arm will be very difficult without a model," Lawhon said, noting that the park has even tracked down descendents of the original granite company that made the statue but couldn't find a useful model.

"We're sort of still hoping something will come to light on that," she said.

A $36,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the vandals is still being offered.

"We're still hearing from people anxious to see justice served," said Dru Anne Neil, spokeswoman for Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg, which contributed $30,000 to the reward fund. "We just hope somewhere somebody knows something."

Tourists can still visit the monuments. The Pennsylvania monument has a little red caution tape around the broken fence, Lawhon said, but otherwise looks "pretty darn good."

At the other two monuments, visitors can still read the inscriptions on the granite pedestals that once supported the statues, she said.

"There may be some visitors who aren't aware a figure is missing," she said.

Seeking tips

Anyone with information about vandalism to monuments at Gettysburg National Military Park can call the park at (717) 334-0909 or Adams County Crime Stoppers at 800-869-8057.



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