An historic Quad City monument with ties to the Civil War was being moved to a county-owned storage facility until money can be raised to try and restore it.
It's a 1,300 pound stone soldier; the centerpiece of the statue outside the Rock Island County Courthouse honoring residents who died in the Civil War.
Dedicated in 1869, the aging soldier nearly toppled off of its pedestal earlier this summer, and was propped up by two by fours and crime tape. Its face is almost gone after years of being outside and neglected.
Crews lifted the statue with a crane and moved him into storage onThursday, December 11, 2014.
"The description we've received is he is essentially 'melting' because of the marble he's made of, so we need to stop that deterioration by getting him inside," said Rock Island County Sheriff Gerry Bustos.
A couple of local Civil War buffs were on hand for the move. They have been busy researching the legible names on the monument, since many have rubbed off over the years.
"I think there are about 450 names. Maybe three-quarters of them died of disease, only about one-quarter died in battle, but they gave their lives. A lot of these names are very familiar Quad City names, it's like a 'who's who' of old names around here," said Doug Lambert, a resident who participates in area Civil War roundtables.
"You don't want to lose history and that's what's about to happen here. The names, we've lost so many names," said fellow Civil War buff Dick Dulaney.
"A lot of these people who died were at Shiloh, some at Stones River, Vicksburg. Some of these units from Illinois were at almost all of the major battles of the Civil War," Dulaney said.
Dulaney has a relative on the monument. Washington Cox, his great grandfather's brother.
Restoration of the monument will take thousands of dollars, but the county is broke.
The sheriff was trying to enlist community, veterans and historical organizations to come up with fundraising ideas to save the statue.
"There's no money for this year, but we're in the process of trying to get together a non-profit organization, to try to get some funds to get this restored," Bustos said.
The Rock Island County Historical Society may also get involved.
The crane, labor and other materials necessary to get the preliminary move done were all donated by local companies Cattani and Art-O-Lite Electric.
For now, the soldier is safe in storage.