Dedication ceremony for iconic statue to be held Tuesday

The famous Whispering Giant will be returning to its home overlooking Lake Shore Drive. Sculptor Peter Wolf Toth has been working on restoring the statue to its original glory throughout the past month. Now that his work is complete, a dedication ceremony will be held Tuesday at 6 p.m., next to the water treatment plant on Lake Shore Drive in Dunkirk.

According to Toth, the statue will have minor additions and changes to make the statue more “aesthetically pleasing.” The statue will have added feathers, pupils, a small smile and more facial lines. The facial lines, Toth said, are to make the statue look like it has aged over the years.

“Beyond that, it’s going to be the same statue as it was 41 years ago,” Toth said.

Once the statue is completed, it will be stained with a natural stain featuring the natural color of the wood. The stain will prevent fungus and insects, but will be safe for human contact. Once the statue is in place, a covering will be added to prevent future water damage.

Toth is also putting in additional structural support. Supports will be lining the back of the statue every foot and an I-beam will run the length of the statue. The beam will be welded to a metal plate at the base of the statue for support.

“I’m putting (support) in the back and running an I-beam through it. It’s going to be a major strengthening point. It’s going to make it structurally sound,” he said. “I’m confident he’s going to be here for decades to come. I believe it’s going to be here for over 100 years.”

According to Toth, the Seneca Nation of Indians will be taking place in the dedication ceremony. Elders and dancers from the SNI will be at the ceremony and Toth is “so glad they are going to be here.” Toth assured the statue will be completed in time for the dedication ceremony.

“I might have a little bit more work afterward, but most people won’t even know,” Toth said.

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