PEORIA, Ill. — After being discarded about 57 years ago, Peoria’s Civil War Monument, also referred to as “The Shaft” is standing once again.
The 30-foot reconstructed memorial piece was unveiled Saturday afternoon at Springdale Cemetery, it’s new location after being previously placed in front of the Peoria County Courthouse.
Gale Thetford, a member restoration team, said the monument was originally erected on Oct. 11, 1866, and is a symbol of remembrance, celebration and dedication for those who lost their lives during the Civil War.
During the unveiling, organizers faced a small problem as the garment, which was created by 100+ art students from Peoria Heights High School, covering the monument became stuck for a few minutes. This briefly prevented the full figure from being completely displaced.
Once the garment finally it revealed the eagle shining proudly on top of the monument and crowd members began to lay flowers at the base of the structure.
Thetford said three Peoria historians had the idea to locate the remaining stones from the original monument after it was taken down in 1962 to make room for the courthouse.
“It was originally discarded on the courthouse lawn and eventually discarded in the Detweiller marina,” Thetford said. “But three local historians believed the originals stones still existed and continued to look until they eventually located them.”
Thetford also said she hopes this newly constructed monument will be better respected and upheld than the original.
“I would just like people to remember that it’s important when we erect monuments and memorials to remember our fallen soldiers that we carefully maintain them,” Thetford said. “Hopefully this one will remain for a lot longer than the first one.”