Restored Mingo Indian Statue To Be Unveiled

WHEELING – A once crusty green historic statue – the Mingo Indian – will be rededicated Wednesday now that its gleaming bronze finish has been restored.

To celebrate the restoration of the statue, the Kiwanis Club of Wheeling is hosting the public rededication ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the statue, located atop Wheeling Hill. A wine and cheese reception will take place afterward at Generations Restaurant, Wheeling, and also is open to the public.

Shuttle service to the rededication site from Generations is tentatively planned for 2:15 p.m., though some nearby parking is available at the old Windmill property at the top of the hill.

On Thursday, the statue was covered with a tarp in preparation for its official unveiling during the ceremony.

The club raised about $10,000 for the restoration that involved cleaning and repairing the cast bronze statue, originally dedicated by the club and given to the city of Wheeling in 1928. This summer’s work was conducted by Carmichael Signs.

Janet Shelburne, Kiwanis secretary, said many donations were received from members of the public, along with a $5,000 donation from the Elizabeth Stifel Kline Foundation, $1,000 from the city of Wheeling and $1,000 from the Ohio County Commission.

”There’s been so much public interest that I never dreamed of,” Shelburne said. ”It’s really been the talk of the town this summer.”

The statue was stolen in 1983, but was quickly recovered when a neighbor saw three people drive away with it in the back of a pick-up truck. The trio cut the statue off its base. Police noticed the statue’s arm sticking out of the back of the truck.

Wilkes Kinney, Kiwanis president, noted the statue is a significant part of the city’s history, and the club was happy to have the opportunity to restore it.

”In Wheeling, we have a lot to be proud of – we have to keep it up,” said Kiwanis member Michael Duplaga Jr.

The Kiwanis Club of Wheeling, founded in 1918, meets at 12:30 p.m. Thursdays at WesBanco Arena. Those interested in learning more about the club can attend a meeting.

Some of the club’s other projects include: managing and operating the Fresh Air Farm in Triadelphia; college scholarships to local youth; monthly awards to Ohio County Schools students; and coordination and serving at the Sunday Soup Kitchen at St. Luke’s Church on Wheeling Island.

A plaque on the front of the statue states, ”The Mingo, original inhabitant of this valley extends greetings and peace to all wayfarers. Presented to the city of Wheeling and by the Kiwanis Club and Geo. W. Lutz, 1928.”