Toth was joined by fellow members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee as well as city staff, leaders and members of the community at a ceremony last Thursday to rededicate the statue. Water damage caused the majestic piece to crack and deteriorate, but Toth said he is confident in his restoration of the memorial to Tennessee’s Cherokee, Creek and Chickasaw people.
Members of the Johnson City Parks and Recreation park services staff assisted Toth throughout the process. They helped remove a portion of Junaluska’s back to rid the monument of decayed wood. The structure was treated with a preservative and an I-beam, and steel plates were inserted for support. A new top was also constructed from steel and fiberglass, and the feathers were reshaped to look like they are blowing in the wind.
“This restoration process has allowed our department to develop a plan for continued annual maintenance of the statue,” said Jim Hughes, Parks and Recreation assistant director.
Metro-Kiwanis is a 15-acre community park used primarily for softball league play. Junaluska faces Knob Creek Road within a 3-acre special-use area called Friendship Gardens.