WAYNESBURG – A new fiberglass statue of Gen. Nathanael Greene was lifted to the dome of the Greene County Courthouse Tuesday morning.
The new statue of the Revolutionary War commander for whom Greene County is named was hoisted by a crane to its new perch about four months after the former wood statue, which had deteriorated badly, was removed.
A small group of people gathered to take a close look at the new statue and to watch and record with cameras and cellphones the statue being lifted to the top of the courthouse tower.
The new statue is much lighter in weight than the previous one, weighing about 170 pounds to the about 500-pound wood statue it replaced, said Jeff Marshall, the county’s chief clerk.
The statue was modeled on the second of the three statues that are believed to have graced the courthouse dome since the courthouse was built in 1850.
The first figure of Greene had been destroyed by a spark from the Downey House Hotel fire on Christmas Day 1925.
The second statue, and the one on which the new statue is modeled, was designed by John Pauley of Waynesburg and carved by Albert Wise, a carpenter. It was placed on top of the dome in November 1927.
The Pauley statue stood 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, that statue was replaced by the one removed four months ago, July 16, which had been carved out of Greene County poplar by the late Miles Davin Sr.
The Pauley statue, which has been housed at the Greene County Historical Museum, first had to be refurbished before it could be used to make a mold for the new one, Marshall said. The statue was fabricated by Fiske and Sons Inc., a building preservation and restoration company from Erie, at a cost of $32,375.
That amount was included in a $95,000 contract awarded to Fiske to replace the statue and strengthen and repair the dome by installing new dome and roof rafters, re-anchoring hold down rods inside the tower to new structural members to hold the statue, fabricating a new steel hold down base and installing weatherproofing.
The new fiberglass statue, which also includes a lightning rod, something the old ones didn’t have, is expected to last many, many years, Marshall said.
Though it comes with no warranty, Fiske has a great amount of experience in such matters, he said. “We shouldn’t have to worry about it, not in our lifetime,” Marshall said.