WAYNESBURG – The statue of Gen. Nathanael Greene was lowered from the Greene County Courthouse dome Tuesday morning as the county begins a project to repair the dome and replace the deteriorated statue.
The 10-foot tall wood statue of the Revolutionary War commander, which has been sitting atop the dome since 1998, will be replaced with a new fiberglass replica.
In addition to replacing the statue, the project will include removing rotted and decayed roof rafters and adding structural supports to the statue.
In May, the county commissioners declared an emergency relative to the condition of the statue and the dome following an assessment by EADS Architects of Somerset.
Peter J. Follen, manager of architecture with EADS, told the commissioners in a letter that, “It is our opinion that these problems must be addressed immediately. It is not possible to predict how long the roof structure and the statue will continue to remain in place.” Moreover, he said, “The situation, in our opinion, is critical.”
The commissioners last month awarded a contract to a building preservation and restoration company from Erie to make repairs and improvements to the dome and statue.
The contract with Fiske and Sons Inc., at a cost of $95,000, will include installing new dome and roof rafters, re-anchoring hold down rods on the interior of the tower to new structural members to hold the statue, fabricating a new steel hold down base, installing weatherproof and fabricating a new statue.
At least three statues of the general for whom the county is named have graced the courthouse tower.
The first figure of Greene was set in place when the courthouse was built in 1850, but it was destroyed by a wind-whipped spark from the Downey House Hotel fire on Christmas Day 1925.
The replacement statue was designed by John Pauley of Waynesburg and carved by Albert Wise, a carpenter with Acklin Lumber Co. It was placed on top of the dome on Nov. 17, 1927.
The Pauley statue stood on top of the courthouse for 70 years and after being found in deteriorated condition was lowered to the ground for the first time in November 1997.
In September 1998, the statue was replaced by the one removed Tuesday, carved by the late Miles Davin Sr. out of Greene County poplar.
Fiske intends to fabricate a new fiberglass replica of the Pauley statue, which is now at the Greene County Historical Society Museum.