Campaign for OC monument repairs needs big boost

A month-long campaign to raise money for the repair of a 91-year-old Oil City monument hasn’t come close to generating sufficient funds to fix it.

In July, Howard Faunce, public works director for the City of Oil City, put out an appeal for monies to shore up the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the city’s Central Avenue Plaza area.

Mortar between the granite blocks is loose and falling out, a situation that prompted Faunce’s move to have it repaired.

An estimate of the necessary work is pegged at $8,300. While the city maintains the traffic island, the mortar work can’t be done in-house, said Faunce.

Faunce took the case to the public and asked for donations.

“So far, we’ve received $580,” said Faunce. “Yeah, I’m disappointed. I kinda thought the veterans groups would step up to help.”

Veteran asks for support

One Oil City resident has publicly asked a local veterans group to step up and pay for the work.

In a letter to the editor, Larry Bowers wrote, “The only active American Legion Post in Venango County must pick up the responsibility and help support the preservation of this monument that was dedicated to all the local veterans who fought and died during that period.”

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument was dedicated in November 1928. The 80-foot monument, made of pink Stony Creek granite and done, according to newspaper accounts, in “a Greek style of architecture,” featured a 12-foot flag staff topped with a bronze eagle.

The inscription reads: “Dedicated to those patriots who in peace preserve, in war defend and make fast the blessings of Liberty, Peace and Prosperity.”

For Bowers, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, the restoration of the monument is a key component in helping “to keep the past alive.”

“It is up to us to preserve the history of those who served,” noted Bowers.

In challenging the American Legion Post, organized in 1919 and named for city resident Capt. James Henderson who was killed in World War I, to help pay for the repairs, Bowers said the veterans group has done similar projects in the past.

In 2011, wrote Bowers, the Legion paid for the American flags on the city’s bridges.

“Once again, help keep our history by preserving what has been given to keep us free,” he wrote.

Donations to help pay for the monument repairs may be marked for the project and sent to Faunce at City Hall, 21 Seneca St., Oil City.