1923 Marland bird bath sees new life

Team Radio Marketing Group - June 30, 2017 1:51 pm

A historic treasure nestled on the south lawn of Marland’s Grand Home was recently restored.

The 1923 E.W. Marland marble bird bath received a 2017 makeover.  This beautifully carved, marble piece was originally located somewhere in the elegant Marland formal gardens, just east of the home between Central Avenue and Grand Avenue.

Standing close to four feet tall, with its large oval bowl measuring over three feet in length and approximately two feet wide, birds no doubt enjoyed a cooling romp and satisfying drink from its pool.

Sadly, the structure toppled over last spring.  The base of the bird bath had deteriorated over the years.  Marble is a soft rock and fissures form in its composition easily. Due to numerous cracks and water seepage, the very bottom portion of the pedestal crumbled and broke apart.

Repair funds were donated by the Friends of the Marland Grand Home and the Ponca City Garden Council, as the restoration need fit well with both organizations’ missions.

Wilbert Memorials of Parsons, Kansas, a partner company with Tulsa Monument, was hired to complete the restoration work.    The bird bath pieces were cleaned using a slightly abrasive, but gentle sandblasting procedure; fissure and cracks were filled with a marble dust epoxy; the bowl and pedestal were reunited and secured onto the rock base; and then the entire surface was sealed.

Unfortunately, the foot portion could not be put back together and a small segment had to be removed. The remaining pedestal, with its integrity intact, was placed on the original base rock.

“It should last another 100 years with proper filling and sealing every two to three years,” said Adam LeMasters, who did the hands-on restoration work.

In addition, David Heidlage and Chuck Crane of the Park and Recreation Department, engineered an ingenious system of discrete support posts to reinforce the support of the structure. Heidlage created brackets, which exactly fit the height of the bottom side of the bowl. The poles located on either long side of the bowl should take weight off the center marble pedestal. With age, the soft marble pedestal will suffer problems if not relieved of its stress. The support given from the poles will stabilize the piece and prevent future weight problems.

Jayne Detten, Marland Mansion and Marland’s Grand Home Assistant Director, said “It was my hope that the entire structure could be saved, but according to the monument restoration specialists, that was not the case. I am happy we were able to save the remaining structure.  The result is beautiful!”




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