MANKATO — With the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and Independence Day being observed, the Mankato Area Community Band decided it was a perfect time to offer up patriotic music and raise some money for a Civil War statue.
The band will play a free concert Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in Lincoln Park, the park dedicated to President Lincoln and the place once home to the Boy in Blue statue. A fund drive is underway to recreate the statue, which was discarded in 1911.
“We’re highlighting Lincoln Park in conjunction with Independence Day and the community band is helping out to raise funds,” said Bryce Stenzel, who is spearheading the statue effort and who is a member of the community band.
So far, just over $21,000 has been raised. A new statue would cost about $100,000, including a large base and pond.
“We’re getting there,” said Stenzel of the fund drive. A committee working on the project is also writing various grant applications seeking support.
The Community Band held a similar concert in the park last year that attracted 300 people. But, as the statue effort had just started and the group didn’t have a fiscal agent to accept money, no donations could be solicited.
While Tuesday’s concert is free, visitors will be asked to donate to the project. Checks may be written to the Mankato Area Foundation, with Boy in Blue written on the memo line.
The concert will also feature the Mankato Area Memorial Squad, made up of local veterans groups, and members of the New Ulm Battery.
The Boy in Blue statue stood proudly in Lincoln Park from 1893 until the neglected statue to Civil War veterans was done in by a storm in 1911.
“It’s about honoring the history of our Civil War veterans. It’s important to remember,” Stenzel said of the effort to bring the statue back.
Stenzel presumes the original statue was likely made out East and shipped here.
It was paid for and erected by the ladies auxiliary of the Grand Army of the Republic, a politically and socially powerful group formed by Union Army veterans.