Rehabbed landmark cross set for formal debut
ST. LOUIS – Looming 11 stories atop southern Illinois’ tallest peak, the Bald Knob Cross of Peace was inelegantly showing its half-century age. Hundreds of white porcelain panels were rusting, missing or hanging on by coat hangers and bailing wire.
But the landmark’s luster is back, courtesy of a feverish restoration effort as deliberate as the one that brought about the iconic site after farmers sold pigs to help pay for it.
Just in time for the Christmas holiday, caretakers on Saturday will flip the switch on new lighting for the cross, officially concluding a three-year rehab funded with $550,000 in small donations despite tough economic times and an unsuccessful lawsuit filed by an atheist to have some state funding given back.
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