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Naper statue installed at homestead site

August 9, 2013 — Source: Chicago Tribune — Author: Melissa Jenco, Chicago Tribune reporter

By Melissa Jenco, Chicago Tribune reporter

August 10, 2013

Naperville may look a little different than when he founded it, but Capt. Joseph Naper has returned to his home.

Crews on Friday installed a 9.5-foot bronze statue of the city's founding father at his homestead site at Jefferson Avenue and Mill Street, which is now a city park.

Jeff Adams, owner of inBronze cast the 1,500-pound statue, hauled it to the site from northwest Illinois on a trailer attached to a pick-up truck and was greeted by city officials and residents snapping photos upon his arrival.

"You get on one side, I'll get on the other and we'll carry it in," 84-year-old artist Dick Locher jokingly told a Naperville Heritage Society official.

Locher, a Naperville resident and legendary cartoonist known for both his Dick Tracy strips and his political cartoons, designed the statue for the society. In his creation, Naper, who founded the city in 1831, is clutching land plans for Naperville and looking out into the distance as surveyor's tools rest at his feet.

Watching the statue's installation Friday was "a dream come true," Locher said.

"When you think about this for years and years and it finally turns out as metal you know you've really got something worthwhile," he said. "It's got a shelf life of 400 years, and I want to be around to watch it all that time."

Bryan Ogg, curator of research for the Heritage Society's Naper Settlement museum, called it "180 years overdue."

"Today is the end result of many many months working and we are very pleased," Ogg said.

The piece, funded by grants, will be dedicated in a ceremony at 4 p.m. Aug. 23, the 151st anniversary of Naper's death, and will become part of the Century Walk public art collection.

 

 

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