Exelon Nuclear kicks off Black Hawk fund-raising campaign
From press release
OREGON, Ill.—Towering 48 feet over the Rock River majestically looking westward stands the second-largest monolith in the world, the Eternal Indian, Black Hawk. This massive concrete statue, created by Lorado Taft, will commemorate the 100th birthday of its dedication in 2011, and the community of Oregon is celebrating.
The Oregon Trail Days Festival, being held July 16-18, has been developed as a means to raise both funds for and awareness of the statue and the City of Oregon. With more than 200,000 visitors coming to Oregon to see Black Hawk each year, it seemed only appropriate to create a festival that celebrated its history. “On any given day, you can come up to this statue and hear two or three different languages being spoken,” said committee member Amy Trimble. “This statue is the heart and soul of our community; it inspires art and creates economic prosperity for the business of Oregon.”
Unfortunately, the statue is in desperate need of repairs. Over the years, it has had major restoration, landscaping and lights were added in the 1950s, and there were relatively minor patch-and-fill projects in the ’80s and ’90s, but moisture has seeped in, and major cracks have been developing. A feasibility study conducted by a private not-for-profit foundation indicates that more than $350,000 will be needed to restore the statue to its original glory. Recently placed on the National Register of Historic Places, it will be very important to maintain as much original material as possible in color, texture and composition when restoring the statue.
The festival committee decided to hold a 2010 event as a kick-off to a year-long campaign of fund-raising. Activities throughout the festival such as raffles, tours of the statue, a tipi decorating contest and more have been planned to help raise funds for the restoration. While the committee sought sponsorships for the creation of the festival, they were pleased to receive a $10,000 donation from Exelon Nuclear, who requested that $5,000 of the funding be used to create the festival and $5,000 be earmarked specifically for the restoration of Black Hawk.
“Exelon’s Byron Station is proud to support an event that will not only celebrate the area’s rich Native American and Western heritage, but will also raise awareness of next year’s 100th anniversary of the dedication of the Black Hawk statue,” said Byron Station Plant Manager Brad Adams. “Along with the Byron Station cooling towers, Lorado Taft’s sculpture is one of the most recognizable structures in all of northern Illinois. It is important that we help restore this iconic piece of history.”
The generous donation is hoped to be the first of many that will come in over the next year to support both the 100th Anniversary Festival and the restoration. “The festival committee is thrilled to have Exelon Nuclear as the major sponsor for Oregon Trail Days,” said Beth Henderson, committee member. “Their commitment to the restoration of the Black Hawk statue and the success of our festival brings value and credibility to what our small committee is trying to accomplish for Oregon.”
A not-for-profit 501(c)(3) fund called “Friends of the Black Hawk Statue Fund” has been set up. Readers wishing to make contributions may send them to: Friends of the Black Hawk Statue Fund, P.O. Box 537, Sterling, IL 61081.
Information about Oregon Trail Days may be found at www.oregontraildays.org. Registration forms are available for food vendors, merchants and events such as the canoe rally and 8K Run-a-Muck on the site as well. More information can be found by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exelon Nuclear information may be found at www.exeloncorp.com.
From the June 30-July 6, 2010 issue
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