Published in the February 2, 2017 edition.
By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD — Thanks to the generosity of the Wakefield Center Neighborhood Association, two missing bronze plaques commemorating the Spanish American War will be replaced at the site of The Hiker monument in front of the Rockery. The WCNA has allocated a budget of $5,000 for the work,
which is expected to be completed by Memorial Day.
The Board of Selectmen at their meeting on Monday voted to accept and approve the WCNA’s plan to replace the plaques.
In a memorandum to Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio, John Leone of the WCNA explained that Everett’s Hiker Monument has a bronze plaque identical to the missing Wakefield plaques.
“You’ll recall that we have identified Everett’s Hiker Monument plaque at Lt. Joseph F. Wehner Park as identical to our missing plaques,” Leone says. “It’s perfectly suited to serve as a mold template for our new bronze plaques.”
Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio said that he did not anticipate any problem getting permission from Everett officials to allow Wakefield to make a mold of their plaque.
Leone explained that Woburn’s Skylight Studios, a world-renowned historic sculpture design studio, will create the mold, cast bronze replicas and install the plaques in the two granite pillars that flank the Rockery fountain pool behind the Hiker statue.
Leone quotes Robert Shure, sculptor and president of Skylight Studios, who explains how the process of creating the mold will work.
“The mold making process is noninvasive and will not change the appearance of the bronze in Everett. We would apply a water-based reversible mold release. The mold material is silicon rubber and it is applied in several coats. When the mold is completed [the release agent] will be rinsed off with water. Once the rubber is dry we apply a plaster backing which is used to keep the rubber in the correct shape. It’s best to make the mold with a warmer temperature outside but it can be done if it is in the high 40s or in the 50s. The process would take about a day. If we do get an ‘Indian Summer’ day in the Winter (between January-March) it would be best to make the mold as soon as possible so the foundry would have enough time for casting before Memorial Day.”
Leone says he was fortunate to find Skylight Studios in Woburn. “Skylight’s Robert and Kathleen Shure have been very helpful and it’s a pleasure working on this project with such a prestigious organization,” Leone said.
“The Hiker” is a statue created by Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson. It commemorates the American soldiers who fought in the Spanish–American War, the Boxer Rebellion and the Philippine–American War. The first version of it was made for the University of Minnesota in 1906, but at least 50 copies were made, and were erected in cities and towns across the United States, including Wakefield, Everett and Malden.
Maio expressed the town’s appreciation of WCNA’s generosity.
“The WCNA always steps up,” Maio said. “It does a great job.”
Neither Maio nor Leone could say what happened to the original Wakefield plaques.
“I’ve checked around town and could not come up with the whereabouts of the original plaques,” Leone said. “They’ve been AWOL for quite some time. My guess is that someone grabbed them and sold them for scrap. The new plaques will be securely mounted using state-of-the-art adhesives and sturdy anchors on the back of the plaques.”
The Wakefield Center Neighborhood Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to the beautification and improvement of Wakefield’s center and adjacent parks. WCNA works cooperatively with Wakefield’s municipal and educational offices, other non-profit groups and local businesses. WCNA raises operating funds from donations and its popular Festival by the Lake.
In other business this week, the Board of Selectmen:
• Approved a request from Sharon Gilley Director of the Lucius Beebe Memorial Library to accept and expend a gift or gifts to the Library in the amount of $18,886.00 from various donors.
• Approved a request from Fire Chief Michael J. Sullivan to accept and expend a gift or gifts to the Wakefield Fire Department in the amount of $1,000.00 from the Mun Su Sa Buddhist Temple, Inc. for the replacing of worn out fire equipment.
• Approved a request from John J. McCarthy Jr., Town Treasurer, to transfer $140,162.50 from the Town’s capital projects account at The Savings Bank to the Town’s general fund so that bond payments for Public Safety ($60,275.00), Land Acquisition ($6,900.00), Galvin Feasibility ($4,443.75) and Athletic Fields ($68,543.75) can be made on February 1, 2017.
• Approved a request from Patrick Sullivan, Chairman of the Wakefield Independence Day Committee, for permission to use the parking lot at the Galvin Middle School from April 16, 2017 through April 23, 2017 to hold its annual Carnival fundraiser for the Wakefield Fourth of July Parade.
• Set the date for Annual Town Meeting on May 1, 2017, opened the warrant and set March 3, 2017 as the closing date for the Annual Town Meeting warrant.
• Approved a request from Janet Schuchter, Chairman of the Wakefield Democrat Town Committee, to re-appoint Kathy Beaulieu as Registrar.
• Appointed Doug Henning, 41 Aborn Ave. and Tasha Schlake Festel, 4 Hillside Ave. to the Albion Cultural Exchange Committee with terms expiring April 30, 2020.