BETHEL, Conn. – He’s stood strong for nearly 90 years in Bethel, a symbol honoring the young Americans who fought and died during World War I. He has been taken down, but only temporarily, town officials say.
The “Spirit of the American Doughboy” statue has stood in P.T. Barnum Square since the Community Association of Bethel dedicated it in 1928, according to The E.M. Viquesney Doughboy Database .
Like the actual Doughboys who came before it, the statue has suffered some substantial wounds but has kept coming back.
In 1987, its left hand and rifle were vandalized, according to the Database, which reported that a local metalsmith reattached the damaged pieces. Similar repairs were made in 2002 when a vandal again targeted the statue’s rifle, according to the Database.
According to a post of the town’s Facebook page, the statue was removed this week to undergo restoration.
The Database reports that it was taken from the square to Polich Tallix, a fine arts foundry in Rock Tavern, N.Y. The town has set aside more than $10,000 for restoration costs, according to the Database.
When the restoration is complete – likely sometime this fall, according to the town – the statue will be returned to its place in the square.
Until then, those wishing to see a doughboy can venture to Veterans Hall in the Bethel Municipal Center, where the doughboy lamp on which the statue was based is on display, according to the Database.