The Boy in Blue will soon have a pool.
Workers are laying the foundation of what will be a large pool and pedestal in Mankato’s Lincoln Park that will be the base for a replica statue of the Boy in Blue, a Civil War memorial that was lost to deterioration in the early 1900s.
“It’s exciting to see it getting started,” said Julie Schrader, secretary and treasurer of the group trying to raise about $120,000 to replace the statue. They have so far raised $33,000, which will not quite cover the first phase of the project.
When Douglas Coopman of Goodrich Construction and his crew dug a 20-foot-wide hole down 4 feet they uncovered parts of the original base that was made of pieces of Kasota stone. They also found the original water pipes coming to the site, which were surrounded by brick.
Working with Coopman are Nathan and Roger Ward, who have found a little extra meaning in the project. Their great-grandfather, William E. Ward, was in the Civil War with the Minnesota Heavy Artillery.
The crew put in a large octagon base of concrete below the frost line and is pouring concrete walls around it, using specially made forms built by Coopman. Eventually a Kasota stone facade will be put on the walls as well as some granite panels on which the names of the 700 Blue Earth County men who served in the Civil War will be engraved.
“We will be selling ‘adopt a veteran’ pavers for each engraving,” Schrader said. People can pay $100 or $200 for the engraving of each paver.
The group is also holding a fundraiser celebrating the start of the project from 6-8 p.m. on May 30 in the park. “We’ll have a Decoration Day ceremony and recreate an old fashioned Decoration Day,” said Schrader of the day that eventually became Memorial Day.