Wyandotte city officials and volunteers have discovered that the totem pole’s I-beam steel support, at Eureka and Biddle, is more corroded than originally thought and needs to be replaced. The new I-beam will be raised and protected.
By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – Totem pole repairs which were originally slated for six weeks may now take until next spring to complete, according to project supporter George Gouth, retired music school teacher and elementary school principal, and Brandon Wescott of the Downtown Development Authority.
The I-beam that had supported the totem pole now will be removed and replaced due to extensive rust. It is hoped that when it is replaced, it can be raised on a pedestal to keep it dry and to better avoid the oxidizing effect of the I-beam resting in water from snow and rain.
A welding company examined the I-beam and determined that it needed to be replaced.
In 2000, the totem pole was painted and new bolts were installed. This brought the totem pole closer to the I-beam, but no one made a new door to protect it from the weather.
Gouth and Wescott met recently with Mayor Joseph Peterson, City Engineer Mark Kowalewski and Gary Ellison of the Department of Public Service.
The city has committed to inspecting the pole every two years and caulk it to protect it from the weather.
Supporters would also like to see the totem pole put in a more prominent spot in the park to increase its visibility.
Gouth also mentioned that he is committed to obtaining lighting for the totem pole once it is reinstalled. He has been working on the now dried out pole, and has picked up some new bolts.
Hoods Hardware will help determine which paint and epoxy is best for the wood.
The Gouth’s nephew, who works with Gouth Sheet Metal and Heating, will be making a stainless steel cap for a canopy to go over the top of the pole.
The turtle has been the source of a lot of rot, so in the future they will try to better protect it from the elements using the canopy.
Gouth mentioned that a third inscribed plate belonging with the totem pole was found to be with the city’s Historical Society. All three totem pole plaques have been reset so they can be properly mounted, and special screws have been supplied by a local monument company.
The city and garden clubs have committed to help with the funding. The Historical Society also has committed to help financially.