CARDINGTON — Reflecting the valor and bravery of the 305 Cardington Township men it represents, the Soldiers Monument in Glendale Cemetery, Cardington, has withstood more than a century of the forces of nature, including a tornado in 1981.
It was 1889 when the monument was placed at the intersection of Main (today East Main) and Center streets accompanied by a huge celebration.
Eight years later it was dismantled and moved to its permanent home in Glendale Cemtery where it has been the site of annual Memorial Day programs. Sadly, the monument is showing serious signs of deterioration but thanks to a vigilant and concerned community the monument is undergoing an extensive makeover with the goal of it regaining its “sentry” position by next April.
The cast iron monument, cast by the Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1889, was dismantled Oct. 21 by McKay Conservation Laboratory, who transported it to their Oberlin laboratory where the restoration will take place.
Treatment will involve the fabrication of a new stainless steel interior support for each section. This system allows each section to rely entirely on the new stainless steel armature for support instead of resting on the cast zinc section below it.
The system essentially eliminates continued deformation of the metal and provides overall structural integrity. Areas which have deformed or curved under pressure cannot be straightened due to the severity of the damage. The leaning figure can be straightened by placing metal shims under the figures’ feet a treatment that is invisible at a proper viewing distance.
Cracks will be repaired by welding as possible. New bolt head and rosettes will be cast as needed. Once the new internal support structure is installed and all of the elements are restored the entire monument will be air abrasive cleaned.
By cleaning the surface with this method an even finish will develop over time into a bluish gray patina characteristic of cast zinc Civil War monuments.
A decision will be made next spring concerning the base on which the statue is placed.
Cost of this project is $76,419. Co-ordinating the drive to raise the funds is the Glendale Union Cemetery Board, and a committee comprised of Pat Drouhard, Dawn Ruehrmund and Diana McClure, along with many community members.
The Monument Committee plans to raise a minimum of $40,000 in support with $14,000 raised so far. Any donation toward the project will be accepted.
The “Monument Committee will “adopt out” names of the veterans listed on the monument for a donation of $100 per name to raise the balance. To help donors learn more about their veterans a team of historians will help those interested with the research of the adopted soldier’s war record. Many of these veterans are buried in Glendale Cemetery.
Checks should be made out to the Glendale Union Cemetery Board and mailed to , PO Box 86, Cardington, Ohio 43315. Any of the three committee members will also accept the check contributions.