Liberty has returned.
After nearly a three-year restoration in Missouri, the 19-foot sculpture has returned to the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial on the south side of the Historic County Courthouse lawn.
She returned much the same way she left – on her back, in a trailer.
Liberty was hoisted in place Wednesday afternoon by a crane.
The 103-year-old sculpture was restored for $32,880, said Tania Cole, Sedgwick County project services program manager. Liberty had some structural issues and was coming apart at the seams near her feet.
The restoration work was done by Russell-Marti Conservation Services Inc. in California, Mo.
We are confident we are going to have her up for awhile
Tania Cole, Sedgwick County project services program manager
“We are confident we are going to have her up for awhile,” Cole said Wednesday.
The Civil War monument is one of the largest in the state.
The memorial sits on a 6-foot concrete foundation. On top of that is a series of three granite steps. On each side of the memorial are four 6.5-foot-tall bronze statues of Union service members representing the Navy, artillery, infantry and cavalry.
Liberty tops the memorial’s cupola.
The memorial was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. However, it was first placed on the courthouse lawn in 1913 by the Grand Army of the Republic for a cost of $22,000.
It was first placed on the courthouse lawn in 1913 by the Grand Army of the Republic for a cost of $22,000.
Originally, the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial was to have been at the east end of the Douglas Avenue Bridge, where the Broadview Hotel now stands, according to old Wichita Eagle accounts. City business and government leaders reasoned in 1913 that the monument could be seen by all train passengers entering the city and by spectators at the ballpark on Ackerman Island north of the bridge.
But the site was nixed when it was discovered the monument would need a 16-foot foundation in the sand along the banks of the Arkansas River.
Instead, the monument was placed at the courthouse.
The memorial was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.