Dr. Dennis Montagna, of the National Park Service’s Northeast Region and Ronald Harvey, of Tuckerbrook Conservation LLC traveled to Great Bend in October to repair, clean, and restore our historic sculpture on the north side of Barton County Courthouse Square named “The Rifleman.” City of Great Bend Public Lands personnel also observed and assisted while gaining knowledge about care of public landmark.
Dr. Montagna observed, “How a community feels about itself is how they take care of their culture. Cities that invest money and time in their outdoor monuments are cities that are healthy and feel good about themselves. I go through a lot of communities in the United States and I can tell who does or doesn’t, and Great Bend is a community that cares.”
Restoration of this important Frederic C. Hibbard’s sculpture was completed in October followed by a Centennial Rededication in November. Special thanks to those who provided financial assistance to make the project a success include: Best Western Angus Inn - Loren and Gayle Unruh; Suchy Construction - Rick Suchy; Walmart – Manager Troy Griffith; and Phyllis Sayler Schultz.
We would also like to thank the Great Bend Tribune for their wonderful coverage for this last month. Reporters recorded all the highlights of this project and through their efforts the community has gained a greater appreciation for our local treasurers.
Posters designed by native son Scott Ward are available at Barton County Historical Society, just south of the Arkansas River Bridge on US Highway 281. Proceeds will be reserved for future restoration projects.