04-08 Mayo bros statue en.jpg

The statue of doctors William and Charles Mayo statue is removed Wednesday morning from its location in front of the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester. The statue, built in 1950, was transferred to the Rochester Public Works and Transit Operations Center.

Two of the most familiar faces in the city left their longtime home on Wednesday morning, as a bronze statue of Dr. William James Mayo and Dr. Charles Horace Mayo moved temporarily into storage.

The Mayo Civic Center, where the Mayo brothers statue stood near the entrance, is in the early stages of a long-term expansion project. For safekeeping of the historic piece of sculpture work, Knutson Construction and Hawk and Son's heavy hauling service prepared and transported the statue to a storage location.

Kristin Cheronis, a Minneapolis-based art conservator specializing in sculpture, was also on site for the move.

"This is a valuable piece ... it's owned by the citizens of Rochester, and every cautionary effort is being done with the ultimate of care so that this sculpture will be available for many years to come," Mayo Civic Center Executive Director Donna Drews said.

Future

The future home of the bronze Mayo brothers is yet to be determined. The Mayo Civic Center Commission had planned to discuss the statue's future at its Wednesday afternoon meeting.

Cheronis, a conservator who provided a study of the statue and a report to the commission, has recommended the statue be returned to its original location in Mayo Park. That would require the cooperation of the Rochester Parks Advisory Board, Drews said.

If the statue were to return to its original location, it might be reinstalled before completion of the civic center expansion project.

As discussion continues, the statue will be held at the Public Works Transit and Operations Center. Cheronis will complete a cleaning of the statue, while preserving the bronze's aged patina.

History

The statue that would memorialize Rochester's two most recognizable figures was commissioned shortly after the deaths of Dr. Charles Mayo (May 27, 1939) and Dr. William Mayo (July 28, 1939).

James Earle Fraser, a Winona native and past National Sculpture Society president, was chosen from 57 sculptors to complete the work. Fraser previously had memorialized historic figures, including Benjamin Franklin and past presidents Alexander Hamilton and Theodore Roosevelt.

The 8-foot, 6-inch sculpture cost $275,000, and donations were accepted for the project in 1943. The finished piece was placed on Sept. 27, 1952, in an amphitheater and park, which now borders the Mayo Civic Center.

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