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Mississippi Monument repairsdays away after years of work

[11/16/01]After 13 years of work, the repairs to the 92-year-old Mississippi Monument in the Vicksburg National Military Park are only days away.

It was in 1988 that park officials noticed the bronze plaques on the sides of the stone obelisk were deteriorating faster than expected. An investigation showed the panels, which had been cast in Italy, contained a large amount of foundry scrap instead of the high-quality metal that had been specified. Water and air pollution over the years had attacked the metal, causing accelerated rust and corrosion.

After National Park Service experts determined what needed to be done, the slow process of raising repair funds began. The drive gained impetus when a group of Mississippi school children raised some $5,000.

The Mississippi Legislature and the U.S. Congress followed suit and added funds.

In April 2000, Daedalus Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., removed the plaques and took them to the company studio near Boston for a complete restoration.

Those plaques arrived back in Vicksburg this week, and employees of Daedalus began reinstalling them Wednesday, said Park Superintendent Bill Nichols.

“They are scheduled to finish Tuesday,” he said.

The contracts with Daedalus and for some stone repairs are for $600,000.