- Associated Press - Saturday, June 3, 2017

RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) - The mother has stood sentinel for nearly 89 years, clutching her baby as another child grasps her skirt.

She faces the wind and every form of precipitation with the same determination that would apparently help her travel the National Road.

Madonna of the Trail continues standing tall at the 22nd Street entrance to Glen Miller Park, and she’s going to look better than ever.

Indiana Daughters of the American Revolution, which is responsible for the Madonna, and the local Richmond-Indiana DAR chapter are working to restore the memorial and spruce up the environment around it. Although the Madonna’s structure was intact, according to Mike Major, who is working this week on the memorial, black mold coated the memorial and cracks had developed.

“I came over and saw this was something we have to work on,” said Lois Huntington, the State Regent of Indiana DAR. “It was getting worse and worse. We need to keep the repairs going. She has been there a long time.”

Major cleaned away the mold, filled the cracks, fixed a crumbling corner of the base and cleared up the 1928 copyright insignia behind which a time capsule resides. The Urbana, Ohio, sculptor climbed a ladder Tuesday while painting a pink sealant base coat on the memorial. A fresh coat of pigment, which will be more of a cream color, will be added later this week.

“It’ll look good when it’s done,” Major said. “It’s going to be a big difference when it’s done.”

Major has previously worked on five of the 12 Madonnas erected by the National Society DAR that follow the National Road from Maryland to California. The memorials were cast in St. Louis and erected in each state during 1928 and 1929.

Indiana DAR has designated some of the $40,000 necessary for the restoration and improvements. Donations may be sent to the state treasurer for Indiana DAR, Diana Ebling, at 7947 Broadmead Way, Indianapolis, IN 46259-5787.

“Mike Major is well-known for what he does, and you pay for what you get,” Huntington said.

In addition, DAR plans to add a concrete apron with a ribbon of Star bricks entirely around the Madonna, plus move existing plaques, install additional plaques, plant flowers and relocate and improve lighting. Richmond Parks Department removed overgrown shrubbery that had surrounded the Madonna, making room for the concrete.

“We want people to be able to come up and walk around and see all sides of the Madonna,” said Cheryl Amos, the registrar for the Richmond-Indiana chapter.

Funds will also help maintain the memorial as it closes in on 100 years.

“Hopefully, we’ll generate sufficient funds to provide continuous maintenance in the coming years,” Amos said.

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Source: (Richmond) Palladium-Item, https://pinews.co/2rg1lrJ

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Information from: Palladium-Item, https://www.pal-item.com


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