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Repair costs escalate for Soldiers Monument

November 05, 2003|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Repairing the Maryland State Soldiers Monument at Antietam National Battlefield could be more involved than anticipated, park Superintendent John Howard said Tuesday.

National Park Service officials closed the interior of the gazebo-style monument to the public in June because it needed repairs, Howard said.

Experts took down the copper sheathing on the inside "and it doesn't look good," Howard said.

The frame that holds up the dome roof has rusted through in places, he said.

Experts are evaluating the damage and how it can be fixed, Howard said. He doesn't expect to receive a preliminary report until after the end of the year.

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The estimate battlefield officials had for repairs, for almost 10 years, was $215,000, Howard said. Due to inflation the estimate rose to $250,000.

The cost could be less or more, depending on whether the dome will have to be removed to repair the metal frame, Howard said.

The monument is 104 years old so the original frame held up well, Howard said. The stonework and brass plaques were cleaned in 1990 and there was no obvious damage to the frame at that time, he said.

Repairs could begin in the spring and take a month or two to finish, he said.

The monument, which is about 60 feet tall, is the only monument on the battlefield with a roof. Ten to 15 people could stand inside.

The monument is dedicated to Marylanders who fought for both the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War.

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