Bellefonte

Grant to help restore Bellefonte memorials

Improper care and weather have taken their toll on the Soldiers and Sailors War Memorial and Andrew Curtin statue base in front of the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte. A state grant will help fund repairs to the granite.
Improper care and weather have taken their toll on the Soldiers and Sailors War Memorial and Andrew Curtin statue base in front of the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte. A state grant will help fund repairs to the granite. jhartley@centredaily.com

The Soldiers and Sailors War Memorial and Andrew Curtin statue base in front of the Centre County Courthouse can expect a facelift in the coming years thanks to a recent state grant.

According to county Planning and Community Development Assistant Director Sue Hannegan, the county has been awarded a $49,475 Keystone Historic Preservation Construction grant through the state Historical and Museum Commission.

The purpose of the grant “is to support projects that rehabilitate, restore, or preserve historic resources listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places,” according to the commission website.

The surface of the granite as been removed by prior inappropriate procedures. As a result, the rain penetrates the granite now, and in the winter months, causes falling and blistering.

Centre County planning and community development Assistant Director Sue Hannegan

“The surface of the granite as been removed by prior inappropriate procedures,” Hannegan said, referring to work done on the memorial and statue base more than 30 years ago. “As a result, the rain penetrates the granite now, and in the winter months, causes falling and blistering.”

If the granite were still a hard, polished surface, she said, weather would not be an issue.

Hannegan provided photographs for the commissioners showing the damage to the memorial, pointing out that the blistering and broken stone is putting all the inscriptions in jeopardy.

The grant requires county match dollars, she said — as the county restores the stone, the state will reimburse the county for 50 percent of the cost.

Work is expected to begin this fall on the memorial and statue base with an evaluation and conditions report, she said. In spring 2017, the stone will be cleaned and consolidated — a material will be used to bind the stone together, restoring the cement in the granite that has been lost.

After drying for a year, plaque inspections will begin in 2018, she said. Work is expected to be completed by fall of that year.

The war memorial and statue celebrated their 110th birthday this year, she said.

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews

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