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Crews work to assess statue

Black Hawk results expected back in about a month

OREGON – It will likely be a month before the results of testing on Ogle County’s best-known landmark are available.

Structural engineer Aldo De La Haza said late last week that it will take some time to make three-dimensional drawings of the Black Hawk Statue and to analyze the data collected during 4 days of testing.

The iconic statue, which is under the authority of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, sits on a high bluff at Lowden State Park northeast of Oregon.

De La Haza, who works for the Dynasty Group of Chicago, and other experts spent most of last week examining the 102-year-old concrete statue and doing non-destructive testing to determine what needs to be done to repair and preserve the statue, which has been damaged by the ravages of time and weather.

“It would be a shame not to preserve this statue,” De La Haza said.

He and fellow engineer Daniel Schultz used high-tech scanners that allowed them to see inside the concrete to assess its condition and to determine the amount and location of steel reinforcement.

The locations of the steel were then marked with tape placed on the statue’s hollow interior.

Another crew scanned the statue with rotating lasers to create an exact 3-D model of the statue.

The testing, which also included ground-penetrating radar work and ultrasonic tomography, was finished Oct. 11. 

The statue has developed cracks, and large pieces of its concrete surface have dislodged. The folded arms of the 50-foot monolith have been especially affected.

The cost for the assessment and repairs has been estimated at $625,000.

More than half the money for the project came from a $350,000 grant the IDNR received from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

The rest came from donations, as well as funds raised during the annual Oregon Trail Days festival held at Lowden Park since 2010.

A large contributor was the Jeffris Family Foundation, Janesville, Wis., which gave a $150,000 matching grant.

Created by sculptor Lorado Taft in 1911, as a tribute to all Native Americans and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the statue is located on a 125-foot bluff overlooking the Rock River. It draws thousands of visitors each year.

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