By Ross Schipper
Almost seven months ago, on February 27, Burleith resident Edgar Farr Russell III stopped by my house. In his hands, he held the bas-relief sculpture that had been attached to the fire call box on the corner of 37th and R Streets, the call box that is affectionately known as “Shorty.”
Edgar had found the sculpture on the ground near the call box. He was worried that it might get stolen and brought it to me for safekeeping. (Edgar submitted text on the Western High School Cadets, and, along with Dwane Starlin, was responsible for the wording on the opposite side of the call box.)
The sculpture was unharmed and in excellent condition. Moreover there was no evidence that it had been forcibly removed from the call box. We suspect that the glue that attached the sculpture to the call box was either not strong enough or was spread insufficiently to make a secure bond. In addition, the sculpture was attached on a very narrow ledge running along the perimeter of the call box, and perhaps that was not a wide enough area to create a secure bond.
In any case, we needed to reattach it, and decided to wait through the cold of the winter and then through the heat of the summer.
On Wednesday, September 13, the artist, Jeanie Murphy, and I reattached the sculpture and waited for the adhesive to cure. On the afternoon of Saturday, September 16, the cure finished, “Shorty” is once again complete.