"The Wheeling chapter of the National Daughters of the American Revolution is honored to receive the largest Historic Preservation Grant available from the President General's Special Projects Grant Program to restore the Wheeling Madonna of the Trail," said Debi Smith, Wheeling chapter and state historic preservation chairwoman for NSDAR.
She said the group was able to secure $10,000 toward the project from the grant program.
"The weather and time have truly taken its toll on Wheeling's Madonna of the Trail, and we are so fortunate to have local professionals who can complete the restoration work. ... We are also fortunate to have such a strong preservation organization as the Wheeling National Heritage Area Corp. to support and help find funding to complete various preservation projects," said Smith.
She said she loves the fact that the reddish-grey granite dust workers are using to blend with the patchwork on the statue came from the same rock quarry in Missouri that the original materials for the statue came from. She said the Wheeling Park Commission plans to take care of the landscaping at the site.
Jeremy Morris, executive director of the WNHAC, said, "The Madonna is a Wheeling icon, and we are pleased to lead this great restoration project with the Wheeling Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution. ... It is a great example of Wheeling organizations partnering together."
He said a rededication for the statue is planned for next spring.
The Wheeling statue is one of 12 that were erected in 12 states between 1928 and `29 along what was then called National Old Trails Road, more commonly known today as National Road or U.S. 40. The Wheeling monument was dedicated on July 7, 1928.
The statues were created by sculptor August Leimbach and were meant to honor the strength and fortitude of the pioneer women who braved the uncertainties of the great journey west and helped settle the American frontier.