City arch gets new lease on life

AMBOY — As spring is in full swing and summer not far off, the weather has cooperated to the point that we can go for a walk, perhaps pushing a favorite one in a stroller, bike ride, or run. If you haven’t had a chance yet, make it a point to go over to the Amboy City Park. There you will notice a refurbished piece of history courtesy of the Maintenance Department.

One day recently as the crew were cleaning out the old shed on the west end of town and heading over to the new one at 202 W. Main Street, Adam Wolfe noticed that there was an arch laying in the corner with a tarp on it and pretty much hadn’t seen the light of day for quite sometime. There are a few tidbits of folklore to this arch which is actually a replica of a much larger one that was erected back in the 1900s. 

“The arch stretched across Route 52 back in the day and the Illinois Highway Department instructed the city to remove it when 52 was rebuilt and widened in 1964,” said Amboy Park Board President Gary Wilhelm. “I was surprised and grateful for the good job that they did.”

Other stories include, that back in the 50s the arch caught fire and the pillars were removed. Amboy Public Works Director Jeramey Wittenauer went about the process of bringing the arch back to life. 

“We certainly weren’t going to throw it away,” he said. “We did an in-house refurbish re-burnt the lettering and re-sealed it and added new posts. It came out good.”  

Amboy Mayor John Schamberger said that the feedback has been positive. “Everyone really likes it,” he said. “We had an old welcome log that had rotted and we thought that where it was would be the perfect place for the arch. It’s displayed prominently and we are very thankful for our talented Maintenance Department who did such a great job with this project.”