NAPPANEE — Residents are wondering what happened to a beloved 9-foot tall wood eagle sculpture that stands outside the city’s post office.
The sculpture was found damaged by Jill Stutsman when she arrived to work early Tuesday morning. She said she was unsure if the damage was caused by vandals or inclement weather. The postal clerk didn’t want to think anyone would intentionally damage a community art fixture.
“Hopefully, it was the storm,” she said.
Stutsman speculated that high winds Monday night could have caused the broken eagle’s wing.
Nappanee police, however, said the carved tree stump doesn’t look like it was damaged by lightning or wind.
“The evidence indicates someone jumped on it,” said Nappanee Police Chief Steve Rulli. “It probably didn’t take much, because there appears to be dry rot.”
The type of damage to the tall sculpture indicates that a person jumped to catch the wing or had a boost from a friend, Rulli said.
“We really didn’t have enough wind damage in town to say it blew down,” he said.
Police posted a photo of the damage on the department’s Facebook page and asked for any tips on what happened. The Facebook post has been shared more than 300 times but has not generated any tips.
Police will review security footage from KeyBank, on the corner of East Market and Sout Elm streets, as the bank’s exterior cameras may have caught what happened late Monday night or early Tuesday morning.
Rulli said he was saddened to see the damage because residents talk about the sculpture “like it’s been there forever.” Drivers even stop to take a photo with the eagle, Postmaster Steve Brooks said.
The date it was created or who carved it isn’t known by Rulli or post office employees, and there doesn’t seem to be a record of it, Brooks said. But upon closer inspection, “Douglas Blosser 6/18/01” can be found carved beneath the eagle, and Stutsman said she believes Blosser carved the eagle.
Josh Newcomer, who walked by and noticed the vandalism, said the name and date on the sculpture were carved later.
“It’s a part of Nappanee history right here. It’s a part of history that’s gone,” he said.
Brooks plans to contact Blosser to learn if he can repair the eagle’s wing. If not, the tree stump might have to be removed.
“There’s not really a way to put a Band-Aid on it,” he said.