Kosciuszko monument taken down for restoration

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- There was a send-off for a symbol of a war hero in Milwaukee on Tuesday, February 12th. It's the statue of General Tadeusz Kosciuszko sitting atop a horse at Kosciuszko Park on the city's south side.

The statue has existed for more than 100 years -- although not always in the same place in the park.

"It had two cannons on each side that we kids would climb up and down on," said Jeannette Mazur.

Mazur is a first generation Polish-American. She remembers the statue facing Becher St. and she was there when it was moved facing Lincoln.

Mazur and others raised and donated money for the statue's restoration. But why is there so much passion behind getting the statue a new lease on life?

General Kosciuszko was born in Poland, studied military engineering in France, volunteered his skills in the American Revolutionary War, and planted the seeds for independence in Poland. When he died, the general had specific instructions for his property in Ohio.

"He left all of his property and requested that it be sold and all the proceeds be used to buy freedom and education for African slaves," said Claude Krawczyk.

For this reason and others, $150,000 was raised to send the statue for a preservation makeover in Ohio on Tuesday -- Kosciuszko's 267th birthday.

The statue will be taken to a warehouse where the top half will be carefully taken off and each part put in a crate and sent to Ohio.

The statue will return to his place in August or September. While it's gone, the granite pedestal it sits upon will be cleaned and polished. Landscaping will also be done around the pedestal.

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