Hyde Parkers hope to restore sculptor’s memorial

By JEFFREY BISHKU-AYKUL
Assistant to the Editor

Chicago-area preservationists are raising funds to restore the resting spot of the sculptor who designed the entrance to St. Thomas the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, 5472 S. Kimbark Ave.

Ravenswood-based group Preservation Chicago is seeking to restore the Park Ridge, Ill. Georgia Guard Memorial, where sculptor Alfonso Iannelli is buried. Iannelli designed the terra cotta sculptures and exterior ornamentation at the church, which was completed in 1924. The group also aims to place a marker at the site of Iannelli’s grave.

Born in Italy in 1898, Iannelli moved to America around ten years later. His work can be found across Chicago, including at the Adler Planetarium and at the Prudential Building, where his relief of the insurance company’s logo depicting the Rock of Gibraltar is engraved.

So far, the project has attracted 107 backers and $10,422 in funding out of its $15,000 goal on Kickstarter.com. But the project will only receive this money if it can attain $15,000 in funds by 11 a.m. Saturday.

According to the Kickstarter description, the entire cost of renovating the Georgia Guard Memorial is estimated to range between $70,000 and $100,000. The memorial is named after George Guard, sister to Sam Guard, a Hyde Parker and previous recipient of the Hyde Park Historical Society’s Paul Cornell Award.

The first $15,000 raised would be used to recast Iannelli’s central sculpture of Georgia Guard. Donations beyond that will be used to rehabilitate the memorial and add a marker for the artist.

“Alfonso Iannelli is a phenomenal artist who worked with a number of architects including Frank Lloyd Wright and Barry Byrne,” said Ward Miller, president and interim executive director of Preservation Chicago, adding that in this case the group has extended itself beyond its service area — usually within city limits.

To donate to the Kickstarter, visit http://kck.st/17ZEVJC.

UPDATE: As of 1:45 Wednesday, $11,532 has been pledged to the restoration.

UPDATE: As of 9:10 a.m. Thursday, $13,857 has been pledged to the restoration.