In Feb. 24-Mar.5 issue By Derek Aaron Times Journal Reporter
JAMESTOWN - In a meeting late last week, the American Legion Post #133, Jamestown Mayor Brooks Bates, Jamestown Attorney Kevin Shearer and Judge-Executive Mickey Garner decided that it was in the "Doughboy" monument's best interest to remain under control by the Legion.
"The meeting went very good," said Legion Commander Jeff Reeder. "We basically came to an agreement that we (American Legion) would lead the front to get the "Doughboy," back up."
Mayor Brooks Bates agreed with Reeder.
"I think that the American Legion wanted it to remain where it was and I think the county did too, and I think the city does so we're just not going to touch that," Bates said. "We're going to mount him back."
The symbolic statue stood in Monument square in Jamestown for more than 70 years until it was brought down and broken in several spots by an alleged drunk driver's pickup early last week.
The meeting of the minds determined it was the best interest of all parties involved to try and refurnish or replace the statue, Reeder said.
Officially known as "The Spirit of the American Doughboy," the sculpture was designed in the 1920s by E. M. Viquesney and was originally designed to honor the veterans and casualties of World War I.
In Jamestown, one of only four locations to have a "Doughboy" in the center of intersections, residents were shocked to hear and see about the famed statue. Some citizens were shocked at the act while others were deeply saddened at the sight of the square with no monument.
"The American Legion is going to meet, along with the city attorney, with the insurance adjuster and the Legion is going to be in charge of assessing the damage and approximately what it's going to cost," Bates said.
He said the city was going to handle the account and all money toward rebuilding the monument. "We're going to spend it upon the recommendation of the American Legion and they will be in charge of putting it back up."
Bates said the America Legion is forming a committee on its own to deal with all matters concerning the refurnishing or replacement of the statue.
"I don't know yet whether it's going to be fixed or if they'll have to put up a new one," Bates said. "Basically, the city is here to help the American Legion."
He said the city would supply workers or whatever the Legion "needed" to get the monument back up.
"The county has agreed to, too," Bates said. "It is a three-prong venture but it is the American Legion's project … and that's the way it should be and the way it was in 1937 (when it was dedicated)."
Reeder said he has already been in contact with some out-of-state companies that have expertise in this type of repair. He acknowledged that another town had purchased a full replacement statue for a cost of $18,000 but said he didn't know how much the Jamestown statue would end up costing.
Judge-Executive Mickey Garner said the Legion received an assessment for $25,000 by a company out of Cincinnati early this week for a new statue, not for repairing the old one.
He said two more appraisals are expected in the coming days concerning the monument's repair.
Bates said that first off, the Legion needed to determine how much money they had to work with. He said that 49-year-old Danny Wilson of Somerset, the individual that crashed into the monument, does have insurance (a policy issued by Progressive) through a representative in Somerset but that it is not clear, as of yet, what his costs will be, if any.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum currently lists 159 locations of the "Doughboy" monument and of that number, 134 currently existing originals have been independently authenticated, and several have been identified as copies by other artists. The Jamestown statue was a cast zinc version, which was copyrighted in 1934.
According to online research, in neighboring Casey County, their similar "Doughboy," statue was shattered by a truck on Independence Day, 1982. The following year a replica was made by Eleftherios Karkadoulias for $12,400. Liberty's current "Doughboy" was dedicated November 11, 1983.
The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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