View Full Version : Famous Statue of Hermann the German Restored

Doktor Goebbels
Monday, October 18th, 2004, 04:19 AM
Hermann The German Restored

New Ulm, Minn. (AP) A restoration crew has undone a century's worth of damage and decay to the Hermann Monument, a statue of a Germanic warrior that has stood watch over New Ulm for the past 100 years or so.

The crew from Washington, D.C.-based Conservation Solutions finished up three months of work this week, putting the finishing touches on the 32-foot copper sheath statue. They repaired and patched bullet holes, reinforced the inner skeleton, replaced worn-out and rusted-out parts and restored features that had been missing for years.

The statue, sometimes known as "Hermann the German," depicts Hermann the Cheruscan, also known as Arminius, who led Teutonic warriors to victory in a decisive battle against the Romans in 9 A.D. It's a symbol of the German heritage of this southern Minnesota city, which celebrated its 150th anniversary this year, and when on its 70-foot base stands 102 feet high.

The scaffolding that surrounds the monument will be taken down starting on Wednesday, and should be gone by next Saturday. The city hopes to have the statue back on top of the base sometime before the end of the month. The day Hermann is lifted back into place will depend upon the wind. The job will require a calm day.

Restoring the statue cost $320,000, while last year's rennovations to its base cost $875,000.

The most obvious restored missing feature is the wing from Hermann's helmet, which blew off in a windstorm in 1998. Both wings are now reinforced so they'll stay put.

Hermann also has a new right foot, crafted out of copper after the structural framework in his right leg had rusted away and the foot became too badly corroded to fix.

Project manager Steve Servis said the biggest problem area was Hermann's right shoulder. The iron piping that makes up the interior framework had snapped at the shoulder, where Hermann's sword points into the air. The arm had sagged forward, ripping some of the copper seams. The sagging made the statue about half a foot shorter than it was originally.

Servis said the arm was removed and repaired in a ground-level shop at the site, while the framework was repaired and an extra connection was made to strengthen the shoulder and the arm. Another piece of framework was added from his shoulder across his chest and down his left side to the base to help stabilize the statue overall.

The base around Hermann's feet was also restored to its original design and dimensions. It had been widened some time ago to give workmen a better platform, but it cut off the view of the statue from the observation platform below.

The Roman helmet and shield on which Hermann rests his left foot in a victorious pose were also rebuilt.

But one item is entirely new. A copper heart will be placed inside the statue. It will read, "Hermann, 9 A.D., A Freedom Fighter, Born Again in New Ulm, Minnesota USA, 2004."

The heart will be filled with signatures of people donate $10, and it will also contain a vial of soil and sand sent from the site in Detmold, Germany, where the battle of the Teutoberg Forest is believed to have taken place in 9 A.D. New Ulm's monument is modeled after a larger one in Detmold.

(� 2004 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. )


Doktor Goebbels
Wednesday, November 10th, 2004, 01:45 AM
Hermann the German rises again
by Mark Steil, Minnesota Public Radio
November 9, 2004

Larger view
Hermann the German is lowered back into place after a $1 million renovation (MPR photo/Mark Steil)
A southern Minnesota landmark returned to it's lofty pedestal today in New Ulm. A crane lifted Hermann the German, all 32 feet of him, into place. The copper statue was taken down about a year and a half ago to repair more than one hundred years of wear.

New Ulm, Minn. The statue has rested on the ground next to its pedestal since it came down in February 2003. The restoration included a new boot, a repaired shoulder and some much needed soldering. Workers closed several dozen bullet holes in the copper skin. Before the statue was lifted into place, Cleo Bohne took what likely will be her last ever ground-level look at Hermann.

"I'm a new-comer to New Ulm and I'm so happy to see that he's down and been repaired. He is really a handsome man," says Bohne. "If he can make it another 106 years he'll do a whole lot better than we flesh and blood folk."
Larger view
Image Hermann rising

Bohne said the statue is a symbol of New Ulm. The city was settled by mainly German immigrants in the 1850's. Bohne wished the statue luck moments before it was lifted back into place.

"I hope nobody shoots at him. Water got inside because people shot at him," says Bohne. "Can you imagine? I'm hoping people are wiser now."

A couple hundred people were on hand to watch the statue's re-ascent. Workers waited on top of the pedestal. As a crane lifted Hermann skyward, John Fritsche of New Ulm called his son in Louisiana. He gave him a play by play of Hermann's return to glory.
Larger view
Image John Fritsche

"Starting to swing him. Now they're going to swing him over some more. He's six feet from going down," says Fritsche.

As the statue touched home the crowd applauded. Among those watching was Dennis Warta, who chaired the restoration effort. He says Hermann is made of sheets of copper, hammered by artisans into the proper shapes. It's the same process used to make the Statue of Liberty in New York. Inside Hermann a spider's web of iron support beams holds the statue together. Warta says more than a million dollars were spent repairing the statue.

"They had to replace some of the pieces of copper. The boot had to be totally redone. Much of the inside iron was okay, but they coated it with a preservative to prevent further rusting. Some of the iron at the very bottom was badly rusted and had to be replaced," says Warta.
Larger view
Image Hermann close-up

He says the statue had deteriorated so much there was a real possibility a severe wind storm could have brought it down. The statue depicts an ancient German warrior who defeated the Romans in battle. Warta says he hopes the refurbished Hermann will symbolize the role German immigrants played in the development of America.

"I would hope that it would be greater than just the city of New Ulm," says Warta. "I would hope that the entire nation should be proud of a symbol for still the largest ethnic group in the country. With the contributions that they have made to the greatness of our nation, I think it's worthwhile to honor that group."

The statue was first lowered onto its pedestal overlooking New Ulm in 1897. City officials hope to have a formal re-dedication ceremony for the restored statue sometime next year.


Wednesday, November 10th, 2004, 03:44 AM




Big difference.... :redface: