BLUFFTON, Ind. (WANE) — A Bluffton landmark will remain in place despite nearby construction.
The statue of a bear and a squirrel in a tree was created in 1936 during the Great Depression. According to old newspaper clippings, William Moser commissioned the statue when he built his Airplane Service Station at the corner of State Road 1 and State Road 124 in Bluffton. Moser thought the statue would bring people into his gas station.
The concrete and fence wire statue was created by a young artist from Pennville, Indiana who spent six months crafting the artwork. Since then the statue has stood in the same location for more than 80 years.
However, when the old Airplane Service Station was demolished to make way for a new gas station complete with new pumps and gasoline storage tanks, there were fears in the community that the statute would have to be moved to a new location.
However, the company that owns the property and gas station, National Oil and Gas, Inc, took to its Facebook page to explain that the statue will remain where it has always been next to the Airplane Express.
“We asked the bear to move along to a different home, but he showed his teeth and let us know that after 83 years, he’s not going anywhere and he likes living along the banks of the Wabash.”Trout Moser, President of National Oil and Gas, Inc.
This is not the first time a construction project has led to fears the statue might have to be moved. Back in 1989, the Indiana Department of Transportation expanded State Road 1 to five lanes. The community of Bluffton rallied together and the statue remained in place and unscathed despite the construction.
Officials say construction of the new pumps could take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks. When the pumps are complete, the community will once again be able to fill up their vehicles and visit the bear and the squirrel on the corner State Road 1 and 124 next to the Wabash River.