February 19, 1998 in Idaho

Celebrity Makeover A Little Epoxy, Some Marble, And Capt. Mullan Will Look Like A New Man

Laura Shireman Staff writer
 
Tags:History

Capt. John Mullan left his post Wednesday morning, at the corner of Mullan Avenue and Spokane Street, where he had kept steady watch for nearly 80 years.

The reason? He’s getting cosmetic surgery.

Weather, gravel tossed up from the street and vandals have worn away at the landmark marble statue of the explorer. The Post Falls Historical Society, Idaho Heritage Trust, the city of Post Falls and several others have donated the $3,500 needed to fix up the city’s only statue.

“He needs to be pretty much completely refurbished,” said Kim Brown, a director in the Post Falls Historical Society. “He’ll get a regular face lift and body work.”

Young Electric Sign Co. helped Tresko Monument Co. of Spokane hoist the statue and its base off their berth next to the Post Falls Library, and lower them onto the monument company’s truck.

The marble statue weighs between 3,500 and 4,000 pounds and the base weighs about 1,200 pounds, estimated Dick Tresko of Tresko Monument. Marble weighs about 190 pounds per cubic foot, he said.

“If you were to buy that whole statue today, it would be about $50,000,” he said.

The statue was donated to the city in 1918 by W.A. Clark, a Montana mining magnate, Brown said.

“To see him leave that spot, that’s pretty historic. It kind of makes you wonder how they got him on there in 1918,” she said.

Mullan explored this region in the 1850s, and, from 1859 to 1862, led Army crews in constructing the Inland Northwest’s first engineered road from Fort Walla Walla on the Columbia River in Washington to Fort Benton on the Missouri River in Montana. He wrote a book on his travels through the area and the construction of the road.

Seven statues of the explorer dot the original route of the Mullan Trail in Montana and Idaho.

Tresko Monument will grind up marble matching the statue, mix it with an epoxy and adhere it to the statue. After the epoxy dries, the company will file away any excess. It may remove larger damaged pieces - such as Mullan’s rifle - and replace them with new pieces, Tresko said.

“Hopefully, we’ll have him back by mid-June,” Tresko said.

When the statue returns, the historical society is throwing it an 80th birthday party to celebrate the contributions Mullan made to the area.

“We want folks to realize who this guy was and why he’s important and why he’s in town,” Brown said.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo

MEMO: Cut in the Spokane edition.

This sidebar appeared with the story:

DUE DATE

The statue is expected to be buffed up and back home by mid-June.

Cut in the Spokane edition.

This sidebar appeared with the story: DUE DATE The statue is expected to be buffed up and back home by mid-June.


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