CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — An icon on the South Jersey skyline is disappearing for a while, because of damage from the August earthquake.

This morning, a crane was removing the top sections of the 30-foot, 15-ton statue of the Blessed Mother Mary high atop Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Camden.

“We could repair it in place, but they felt the safest way to repair it was to take it down,” says Kim Barnes, vice president of planning and development for Lourdes Health System.

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(Credit: Mike DeNardo)


Barnes says the statue sustained structural cracks in the August 23rd earthquake that rattled the east coast (see related story), and says the statue is being taken to a local restoration company.

“They use dowels, they use epoxy, they use different things to fix the limestone,” she tells KYW Newsradio, “also, restore it a bit overall.  And then they bring it back to the hospital and, with a limestone-based mortar, they put it back on top.”

The statue has been part of the Camden skyline for 60 years.  It’s expected to return to the top of the hospital in a few months.

Barnes says the hospital did have earthquake insurance, but it’s costing about $100,000 out of pocket to repair the statue.

Reported by Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio 1060