Monument mystery solved in downtown Scranton

Missing piece of monument has been returned

SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) - Lackawanna County has solved a "monumental" mystery on courthouse square.

Last week, a man who works in the city noticed part of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument was a missing a piece and no one knew exactly what happened until now.

The Soliders and Sailors Monument was built in 1900 to honor those who served during the Civil War.

Right after La Festa Italiana, someone noticed the barrel and bayonet was missing from the infantryman on the top of the monument.

It couldn't be found anywhere until now.

Like a prized possession, Lackawanna County commissioner Pat O'Malley showed off the missing monument piece that had just been returned.

"People could have easily sold this at the junkyard, got quick cash and they didn't, it is saving us thousands of dollars!" Commissioner O'Malley said.

Last Tuesday, right after La Festa Italiana, Albert Guthrie says he noticed the piece of the monument which seemingly fell off into the grass around the courthouse.

"I bring it first to the building but it was closed," Albert Guthrie said.

Because the Lackawanna County courthouse was closed, Guthrie, who has only lived in the city for three years, decided to hide the piece near the front door.

After a newspaper article over the weekend, Guthrie went to his pastor and told her what happened.

They alerted authorities.

"It was so secure, I don't think anyone would have found it had they not really been looking," Rev. Rebecca Barnes with Saint Luke's Episcopal Church said.

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument has survived all types of weather for the last 117 years.

Officials say the bayonet was replaced in 2007 and may have been significantly heavier than the previous one, causing it to break off.

If it hadn't been found and returned, replacing it could have been tricky.

"They're not an uncommon statue but to find the exact right size and the gauge of the barrel to match the pieces together, it would have been tough," Sarah Piccini with the Lackawanna County Historical Society said.

While no one was hurt, the issue leads to a bigger point, the age and stability of monuments.

Commissioners say its something they will now pay more attention to.

"It's something you wouldn't think about until it happens and now it's something that we need to think about for the future," Commissioner Laureen Cummings said.

 


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