Milwaukee's first public monument is back where it belongs.
The 10-foot-tall bronze statue of George Washington, depicting him in his continental army uniform, was presented to the city in 1885 and long stood at 9th & Wisconsin.
But over time, the monument accumulated dirt and corrosion. It spent the last year and a half at an Illinois studio where employees worked to repair and clean the statue.
One challenge to refurbishing the George Washington monument was removing a concrete-like substance that was previously poured inside of it.
On Thursday morning, the newly-renovated monument was once again placed onto its pedestal at 9th & Wisconsin.
Mayor Tom Barrett was on hand for the ceremony, and said he wanted to formally welcome the monument home.
“We wanted to make sure the first piece of public art ever erected in Milwaukee is in pristine condition,” Barrett said.
Westown Association spearheaded the fundraising effort, $60-thousand, to pay for the bulk of the monument's restoration. It received significant help from Milwaukee Downtown, Marquette University, the Wisconsin Club, Zilber Ltd. and We Energies.
A $10-thousand grant from the Milwaukee Arts Board, which is public money, also contributed to the conservation of the Washington statue.
Milwaukee's Department of Public Works restored the statue's base and helped out with the transportation and re-installation.
The restoration of the bronze monument of George Washington is one part of a planned renovation including two other monuments around 9th & Wisconsin.
A total of $30-thousand is needed to complete the project. To learn more about fundraising efforts for the project, click here.