Pearls of the Past: Joe Naper Statue Unveiling

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In August 2013, the town’s founder arrived back home in the form of a larger-than-life sculpture. Hundreds gathered for a public ceremony at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Mill Street, where a statue of Joe Naper was unveiled.

Two archeological digs in 2006 and 2007 discovered this location was where Naper built his first three homes and had a trading post with the Native Americans.  Naper Settlement wanted to bring a statue to this location and asked famous Dick Tracy cartoonist Dick Locher to design one.  Jeff Adams, owner of Inbronze, then got to work bringing the final artwork to life.

Once finished, Naper took the same journey he did in 1831, traveling on the back of a truck down through downtown until reaching his final destination.  The statue’s unveiling coincided with the 151st anniversary of Naper’s death. To this day, the sculpture stands strong at ten feet tall and weighs 1,500 pounds.