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posted: 8/10/2013 8:00 AM

Sculpture of Naperville founder placed at homestead

Sculpture of Naperville's first settler placed at his homestead; dedication is Aug. 23

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  • Video: Joe Naper statue installed

  • A sculpture of Naperville founder Joseph Naper is lowered by crane Friday at the Naper Homestead site at Mill Street and Jefferson Avenue. The 1,500-pound sculpture took more than three hours to install and will be covered with burlap until it officially is unveiled at 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23.

       A sculpture of Naperville founder Joseph Naper is lowered by crane Friday at the Naper Homestead site at Mill Street and Jefferson Avenue. The 1,500-pound sculpture took more than three hours to install and will be covered with burlap until it officially is unveiled at 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23.
    Photos by Michelle Jay | Staff Photographer

  • Public works crews drill holes Friday to secure a sculpture of Naperville founder Joseph Naper at the Naper Homestead site near downtown.

       Public works crews drill holes Friday to secure a sculpture of Naperville founder Joseph Naper at the Naper Homestead site near downtown.
    Michelle Jay | Staff Photographer

  • A sculpture of Naperville founder Joseph Naper makes its way Friday down Jefferson Avenue to its home at the Naper Homestead at Jefferson and Mill Street.

       A sculpture of Naperville founder Joseph Naper makes its way Friday down Jefferson Avenue to its home at the Naper Homestead at Jefferson and Mill Street.
    Michelle Jay | Staff Photographer

  • Mary Locher and cartoonist Dick Locher stand in front of a sculpture of Naperville founder Joseph Naper as the artwork is installed Friday at the Naper Homestead at Mill Street and Jefferson Avenue. Dick Locher, a cartoonist who drew the Dick Tracy series, sketched the design for the Naper sculpture which was cast in bronze by Jeff Adams of InBronze Foundry in Mount Morris, Ill.

       Mary Locher and cartoonist Dick Locher stand in front of a sculpture of Naperville founder Joseph Naper as the artwork is installed Friday at the Naper Homestead at Mill Street and Jefferson Avenue. Dick Locher, a cartoonist who drew the Dick Tracy series, sketched the design for the Naper sculpture which was cast in bronze by Jeff Adams of InBronze Foundry in Mount Morris, Ill.
    Michelle Jay | Staff Photographer

  • Cartoonist Dick Locher of Naperville gets a photo Friday as Naperville public works crews install a 1,500-pound sculpture of the city's founder and first settler Joseph Naper at the Naper Homestead. Locher sketched the design for the statue.

       Cartoonist Dick Locher of Naperville gets a photo Friday as Naperville public works crews install a 1,500-pound sculpture of the city's founder and first settler Joseph Naper at the Naper Homestead. Locher sketched the design for the statue.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 

Naperville founder Joseph Naper returned to his homestead Friday -- at least symbolically -- as city public works crews installed a 1,500-pound sculpture of the pioneering settler at Mill Street and Jefferson Avenue.

The sculpture officially will be unveiled and dedicated during a ceremony scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, at the site near what's now downtown Naperville.

Naper Settlement Curator of Research Bryan Ogg said the bronze-cast sculpture depicts Naper as he was when he first arrived in the area that now bears his name -- a 33-year-old land surveyor standing near a tree stump and a box of tools.

The sculpture is covered in burlap for now and secured by rods placed in foot-long holes drilled into the ground.

Sketched by Naperville cartoonist Dick Locher and sculpted by Jeff Adams of inBronze foundry in Mount Morris, Ill., both of whom were on hand Friday, the $185,000 piece was funded by grants the settlement received.

Crews on Friday closed one block of Mill Street for about four hours as they used a crane to lower the sculpture into place on the Naper Homestead interpretive site at the southeast corner of Mill and Jefferson.

The work caught the eye of people walking in the area and about 40 gathered to watch the statue take its place.

"It was a really neat morning for history in Naperville," city spokeswoman Kate Houlihan said. "This is a community that really does care deeply about its history and honors the memory of its founder."

City officials say parking spots on northbound Mill between Jackson and Jefferson avenues will remain blocked until Aug. 22 as workers prepare the sculpture for its public debut.

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