Civil War monuments are getting a facelift

SYCAMORE - The statues of Civil War soldiers guarding the DeKalb County Courthouse are ready for a makeover. Scaffolding was put up around the Civil War monument on Thursday and workers from Evanston-based Botti Studio of Architectural Art will be testing out the best methods to help clean up the two bronze soldiers. The monument, which is 50 feet high, includes two soldiers which stand on the 8-foot-tall base, next to a four-sided obelisk. It was put up in 1896 as a tribute to the 2,388 DeKalb County soldiers who fought in the Civil War, County Historian Phyllis Kelly said. DeKalb County Facilities Manager Ken Campbell said it is likely the two "life-size" bronze statues have never been cleaned. The statues are green from oxidation that has occurred over the years. Kelly, who works in the Joiner History Room which is located in the Sycamore Public Library, said she didn't know the county was planning on working on the monument. The history room's windows face Route 23, which is across the street from the courthouse. "I saw them putting up the scaffolding," she said. "I went out there and asked them, 'What are you doing to my monument?'" She said she shared copies of historical information about the statues to help the restoration experts. Campbell said the county has budgeted $15,000 for the restoration of the statues, but he said until Botti Studio finishes its report the final restoration price will not be known. "They're working out techniques to see what works best," he said. "We got the right people to do this job." He said he's already been on the scaffolding and noticed the seam on one of the soldiers is splitting and there's a crack in the base of the other. He said he's been wanting to see some work done on the soldier's for the past four years. Once the soldier's are restored, he said he hopes to wax them every few years to help keep them from getting oxidized. Campbell said the company is the same one that did the restoration of the stained glass windows in the court house last year. Botti Studio's origins date back to the 16th century. It has branches in Florida, Italy and the Bahamas. Among other projects the studio has worked on include the 1994 restoration of the Marc Chagall Mosaic in Chicago. Aracely Hernandez can be reached at