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Restoration begins on riot-ravaged statues

Empower Wisconsin | Sept 10, 2020

MADISON — The Capitol Square’s Forward and Hans Christian Heg statues destroyed in June by rioters are on the road to restoration. 

The state Department of Administration has signed contracts with a restoration firm and earlier this month the statues were set to be shipped, according to a legislative aide for State Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton). Loudenbeck is chairwoman of the board that oversees projects for Wisconsin’s historic Capitol and Executive mansion.

And DOA has submitted information requested by the U.S. Department of the Interior in pursuit of a $60,000 grant. The funding would cover the costs of the $50,000 deductible that comes with the state’s insurance policy on the century-plus-old statues. 

The idea is to not only restore the statues but make sure they’re protected from such acts of vandalism in the future, representatives of the 16-member State Capitol and Executive Residence Board have said. 

Restoration will be no small feat. SCERB members made it clear that repairing the damage to the statues will take time. 

During a long violent night on June 23-24, Black Livers Matter protesters ravaged portions of Downtown Madison, particularly the Capitol Square. The mob smashed Capitol windows, set fire to Madison’s City-County Building, and badly beat a state senator as part of their rampage. 

As Empower Wisconsin reported, the Black Lives Matter demonstrators also ripped down and soiled the famous, 7-foot Forward statue, a proud symbol of progress created by a Wisconsin female artist nearly 130 years ago. Then they proceeded to drag down and decapitate the statue of Hans Christian Heg, a Union colonel who fought and died in the Civil War in large part because he abhorred slavery. They dumped it in Lake Monona. 

The Heg statue head has yet to be found. It is being reconstructed, according to legislative sources.

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