Construction Manager Jarrod Heltsley with Shores Builders General Contractors of Centralia, IL inspects the base of the Eagle with Salem Historical Commission members Diane Eller and Mark Decker and Public Works director John Pruden to explain the best options for preserving and displaying the Eagle
The City of Salem and Salem Historical Society have completed plans for the large concrete Eagle removed from the front of the Salem Armory prior to demolition.
The Eagle's new home will be atop a six foot high foundation in the design of the bases of the Veterans Memorial and the East Lawn Cemetery sign. That design will closely resemble the actual design of the Armory columns that the Eagles sat atop on North College Street for 79 years since the 1937 dedication of the Armory.
The construction of the new base, which meets the $7,500 budget limitation guidelines, will occur over the next couple of weeks so that the Armory Eagle can be lifted off of the ground to a more secure position. The Eagle will be located between the two roads entering the East Lawn Cemetery from East Main Street and will be the same distance from the road as the Veterans Memorial. The second Eagle is headed to the new Armory in Mt. Vernon.
The Salem Historical Commission plans to do some cleaning of the Eagle to remove dirt and mold that is common to stone memorials before the cracks are sealed and a protective coat is applied to help preserve the concrete sculpture.
The multi-stage preservation effort will include proper lighting and the display of appropriate signage to commemorate the men and women who served and trained at the Salem National Guard Armory and then deployed to missions and wars around the world to protect the United States of America and our allies.
The efforts to save the Eagles was a joint effort of the historical commission, City of Salem, American Legion Post 128, State Representative John Cavaletto, the Illinois Department of Military Affairs and the cooperation of Shores Builders who had the contract to demolish the Armory.