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Black Hawk Statue to undergo full body, 3D scan

Ogle County's most famous centenarian will be getting a 3-D full body scan this week.

Structural engineers began work Tuesday to determine the condition of the Black Hawk Statue in order to decide what is the best way to help repair the 102-year-old concrete statue.

Aldo De La Haza and Daniel Schultz, who work for the Dynasty Group, Chicago, used technology to take a look beneath the surface of the statue, which sits on a high bluff at Lowden State Park northeast of Oregon.

De La Haza said his company has been hired to investigate the condtion of the structure and do non-destructive testing.

Their high-tech scanners allow them to see inside the concrete to assess the statue's condition and to determine the amount and location of steel reinforcing.

Another company will do scanning with rotating lasers to create an exact three-dimensional model of the statue, he said.

The findings will aid in determining what needs to be done to repair and preserve the statue which has been damaged by the ravages of time and weather.

The statue, which is under the authority of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), has cracks and large pieces of its concrete surface have dislodged. The folded arms of the 50-foot monolith have been especially affected.

The cost for the assessment and repairs has been estimated at $625,000.

More than half the money for the project came from a $350,000 grant the IDNR received from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

The rest came from donations, as well as funds raised during the annual Oregon Trail Days festival held at Lowden Park since 2010.

A large contributor was the Jeffris Family Foundation, Janesville, Wis., which gave a $150,000 matching grant.

Frank Rausa, a member of The Friends of the Blackhawk Statue Committee, said in January that the laser scanning will provide a permanent record of the statue and include drawings, plans, and elevations of the statue for use in the current restoration and in future years.

Created by sculptor Lorado Taft in 1911 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the statue is located on a 125-foot bluff overlooking the Rock River. It draws 400,000 visitors a year, tourism officials say.

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