Spring unveiling planned for replica of Glen Ellyn's iconic horse trough
A Glen Ellyn icon will remain noticeably absent from downtown until next spring.
A 20-foot Everest fir tree lit with 1,224 bulbs now fills the void in the center of the road at Crescent Boulevard and Main Street.
But the village's historic horse trough has been conspicuously absent from the middle of the downtown intersection since last February. At that time, the village put up a sign explaining the reason: "Restoration in progress."
But after the traditional holiday display comes down, the restored horse trough won't return to its usual spot.
Instead, the village plans to move the refurbished, cast-iron landmark out of harm's way to another high-profile spot: the Glen Ellyn Civic Center.
In addition, a close replica of the horse trough will take its place at Crescent and Main.
The restoration and the reproduction are taking longer than officials had hoped.
Public works employees knew the ornate, corroding monument was just a car crash away from catastrophe after surviving close calls in the past.
But closer inspections of the disassembled horse trough -- donated to the village more than a century ago -- showed extensive damage.
The sculptor hired by the village found cracks in it and expressed surprise that the dirt-filled horse trough hadn't collapsed under its own weight, Glen Ellyn Public Works Director Julius Hansen said.
"We got it right in the nick of time from preventing that from happening," Hansen said.
Earlier this year, the village commissioned Max-Cast, Inc., a foundry in Kalona, Iowa, to build the bronze duplicate at a cost of no more than $40,000 and to repair the original for an additional $5,000.
The sculptor is recreating the trough using the historic trough as a mold and silicone bronze.
The bronze material will better withstand the test of time, Hansen said.
"The goal is to have it be as much as an exact replica of the old one as possible," Hansen said.
The village also is planning on the idea of a spring unveiling for the new trough, or about a year after dismantling the original.
As part of planning for a major streetscape revitalization downtown, officials will discuss displays of both the historic trough and bronze replica, Hansen said. The village could consider more protection for the new trough with, for instance, a bigger curb.
The original trough was never intended to become a monument when William Newton donated it in 1907 -- the same year the village's water system was installed -- with the instructions that it would serve "horses and dogs." Newton was the son of Glen Ellyn's first physician, Dr. Lewey Quitterfield Newton, "who owned most of what is now downtown Glen Ellyn," according to a 2006 book on village history by Russ Ward.