WHEELING - The Mingo Indian statue that stands at the end of the newly named Martin Luther King Way, once covered in the layer of oxidized green patina, has now almost completely regained its bronze shine.
Contractor Everett Carmichael of Carmichael Signs in Glen Dale has been cleaning the statue throughout the summer to bring shine and luster back to the Indian that has been overlooking the city from the top of Wheeling Hill since the 1920s.
"I'm just finishing up," Carmichael said. "I'm taking the rest of the green off and shining it. I should be done by next Friday."
Photo by Sarah Harmon
The Mingo Indian statue atop Wheeling Hill on National Road is now bright and shiny after receiving a good cleaning.
Carmichael could be seen putting final touches on the statue while traffic sped by, coating the Indian with a shine spray and rubbing the crevices with a cleaning rag.
In addition to the cleaning and polishing, Carmichael said that the Kiwanis Club of Wheeling, who ordered the cleaning, also had the stone base of the statue re-concreted and filled in a large hole that was on the side of the base.
"It's looking better. The new concrete will make it last longer," Carmichael said.
Project Chairman Mike Duplaga Sr. noted Carmichael has put "a lot of hours" into the statue's makeover.
Carmichael has been working on and off, depending on how hot the weather, since the extreme heat experienced this summer could ruin some of the cleaning chemicals used. Duplaga mentioned that further improvements include all new wiring and installing lights.
Between $8,000 and $10,000 was raised for the statue's improvement through a few large donations and 30 or more smaller donations from community members, according to Duplaga.
He noted that the city and the county as well as a "couple of individuals" contributed a significant portion of the funds.
The Wheeling Kiwanis Club will hold a ceremony for the updated statue in early September.
Duplaga could not confirm the exact date of the event, but Kiwanis officials hope Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., will attend.
"We're going to unveil it at the opening and have some dignitaries there," Duplaga said. "We sent invitations to all who donated."
The statue was donated to the city in 1928 by the Kiwanis Club. The last time the statue was cleaned and restored was in the early 1980s after it was stolen from Wheeling Hill and damaged.