Sculpture of McCleery wolf planned for Kane

This is a conceptual rendering of a McCleery wolf metal sculpture that is to be installed outside the Kane Depot, home of the McCleery Discovery Center.

Imagine a wolf standing watch over one of Kane’s busiest intersections.

The Kane Historic Preservation Society and the McCleery Discovery Center hope to see just that in the form of a metal sculpture to be installed in front of the Kane Depot at the intersection of Fraley and Biddle streets. As a rendering of the proposed statue shows, the Great Plains Buffalo wolf is to stand as if it has just reached the summit of rock, perched over the road next to the Kane Depot.

They are now raising funds for the project.

Assisting with the project will be artist Bill Secunda, Steve Dyne Excavating and Highlander Energy Systems.

Secunda makes custom life-size animal statues, as well as other sculptures, using different metals and nails.

In fact, “Nail art is an award-winning technique that Secunda created many years ago,” according to a press release from the Historic Preservation Society. “Several of his life-like sculptures have been installed at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Disney’s Epcot, St. Louis Zoo, Ripley’s Museum, Barber Motorsports Park and others. Bill has also created many animals for private individuals throughout the country.”

Steve Dyne Excavating and Highlander Energy Systems will donate “their time and material to prepare the site, transport large boulders for mounting the wolf sculpture, and securing the wolf to the large boulders,” the society explained.

“There has never been a more opportune time to celebrate Wolf Pride in Kane,” said Dennis Driscoll, board member.

The wolf, known in modern times as a mascot of Kane’s school district, has a rich history in Kane.

As the Preservation Society explained, “Dr E.H. McCleery, a local Kane doctor, began purchasing Great Plains Buffalo wolves in 1921 and had them transported to the Kane Depot. The U.S. government had a program of eradicating the wolves from the Great Plains.”

McCleery “had a passion for wolves” and started saving canis lupus nubilus, a subspecies of wolf.

“He lived two blocks away from the depot and would pick up his wolf pups and take them to his house on the outskirts of the town. Between 1921-1930 he purchased nearly 30 wolf pups. By the early 1930s the government reported that the Buffalo wolves were successfully removed in the wild and McCleery had the rest.”

Today, the remaining wolf pack is under the care of Wolf Haven International and lives on a 400-acre ranch in Bridger, Mont. Meanwhile, the largest collection of artifacts about the wolves remains at the McCleery Discovery Center, which opened in 2017 at the Kane Depot.

Dick Bly, executive director of the McCleery Discovery Center, said, “The statue will represent nearly 100-years of dedication and commitment that Dr. McCleery had for his friends. Dr. McCleery, known as the ‘Father of the Endangered Species Movement in America,’ will forever be instilled via the statue prominently displayed at the intersections of U.S. Route 6 and PA Route 66 in uptown Kane.”

In addition to the statue, project organizers will have a webcam installed so viewers can see the wolf sculpture on the Kane Depot’s website, as well as watch a portion of Fraley Street and the uptown Kane Business district.

An unveiling and dedication will be held at a later date.

The anticipated project cost is $12,000. Donations for the project can be made to the Kane Depot Preservation Society, which is a non-profit 501©(3).

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