WATERVILLE — A giant crane lifted the 25-ton post and base of “The Ticonic” sculpture from its perch Thursday morning on The Concourse and lowered it onto a flatbed trailer for its journey to nearby Head of Falls.

Workers then set it into the ground on the banks of the Kennebec River around midday Thursday and replaced the top of the sculpture, which had been removed April 25, on its base just before 2 p.m.

Public Works Director Mark Turner said the process went more quickly than he and others had thought it would, and the top of the sculpture successfully rotates as it should.

“It’s all level, it spins and we tested it,” Turner said at Head of Falls. “I know the structure is an inanimate object, but I think it’ll be much happier at its new location. It’ll be part of the broader landscape of many features at the RiverWalk and it’s going to fit. It’s going to fit in well.”

The sculpture was moved to become part of the $1.5 million RiverWalk being built at Head of Falls, which will include a 900-foot boardwalk along the river, a gazebo, a large children’s play area, art installations and landscaping by Mitchell & Associates landscape designers, of Portland.

The city paid $80,000 for the sculpture, which was designed and built by sculptor Roger Majorowicz in his North Whitefield studio. It was installed Nov. 13, 1997, on The Concourse and dedicated the next day in a ceremony at which Majorowicz spoke. Majorowicz died in 2014 at 83.

Workers and spectators watched Thursday morning as the crane, operated by Matt Jackson of The Cote Corp., of Auburn, plucked the sculpture post and granite and concrete base out of a large hole in the ground on The Concourse and lowered it on to the flatbed driven by Jeff Mushero. Workers had placed straps made of a synthetic material under and around the base, and the crane hook lifted it out of the ground.

City Manager Michael Roy, who has been working to raise money for the RiverWalk with Lisa Hallee, watched the work with his executive assistant, Sarah Bowen. Roy and Hallee are members of the city’s RiverWalk Advisory Committee.

“I think it’s been a long time coming, and I think that the new location will be a real boon for the sculpture in terms of being appreciated by the people in the region,” Roy said. “It’s going to have a great new home, and public works has promised me that the top will continue to turn.”

The top of the sculpture had been stored for the last week at the public works complex on Wentworth Court.

“The Ticonic” installation was part of an effort to revitalize The Concourse about 20 years ago. “Ticonic,” in Abenaki, means “a place to cross,” and part of the sculpture represents the falls on the Kennebec River at what is known as Head of Falls.

At the time Majorowicz was building the sculpture, he said that after studying and researching Waterville, he chose to compose a work of abstract forms to symbolize the importance of the city. In a description of the sculpture at the time, Majorowicz wrote that it is 33 feet high and 8.5 feet wide and weighs about 4,000 pounds above its base. It is made of stainless steel, aluminum, bronze, steel, granite and concrete.

“I found Waterville to be a ‘hub city,’ central to the state of Maine,” he said. “The sculpture turns on a hub turntable, inspired by the turntable of the train yards. Waterville is on the move — the geometric temple form symbolizes a city on the upswing with awareness of global concern (the pylon thrust form). Within the composition, the large diagonal form represents the water falls, the three wheels were inspired by the history of trains in Waterville. The three vertical pole forms might remind you of the stacks from the paper mills. I have selected an all over silver finish and surface treatment to represent the swirling movement of water in the river and falls. The sunlight on these forms should reflect much as sunlight on water. My intent was to unify these forms into a provocative composition to stimulate the eye and mind and be special and unique to the city of Waterville — a modern, moving city.”

Watching the work to move the sculpture Thursday, Paul Carpentier, 55, of Waterville, said he was there in 1997 when the sculpture was installed on The Concourse, and he was there Thursday to see it go.

“I’m glad it’s being moved,” Carpentier said. “I always thought this was a bad area for it. You can’t really enjoy it in the middle of a parking lot, and all the trucks got hung up on it there. The semis come through and think they can make it, but they can’t.”

Head of Falls, he said, is a perfect place for “The Ticonic.”

“I spend a lot of time down there in the summer,” he said. “I’m excited for the changes in Waterville. I was here when they tore down the old Sentinel building that was on The Concourse years ago.”

City Engineer Nick Champagne and former City Engineer Greg Brown also were on hand Thursday on The Concourse.

Champagne said the spot on the river will give spectators a better view and appreciation for the sculpture.

He said Roy and Turner have been working on what the empty site on The Concourse will look like now that the sculpture has been removed, and what will replace the artwork. Workers plan to fill in the gaping hole on The Concourse with gravel and ground-up pavement on Friday, when they also will do concentrated compacting work, according to Turner.

A city public works crew excavated around the sculpture before it was removed from The Concourse. Gordon Contracting Inc., of Sangerville, which is developing the RiverWalk, excavated the site on the riverbank and prepared it for receiving the sculpture. Councilors on April 3 voted 6-0 to award a $1.18 million contract to Gordon for the RiverWalk project.

Just after the top was attached to the sculpture at Head of Falls, Turner said that on Friday, concrete will be brought in, it will set for the weekend, and workers will start reconstructing the sculpture’s base to match what it was like on The Concourse.

“These guys are great — Cote, the craning and rigging crew, Gordon Contracting and, of course, the public works crew — just phenomenal,” Turner said.

Work on the RiverWalk is expected to be completed in September in time for a Sept. 29 dedication.

The area at Head of Falls north of the Two Cent Bridge has been fenced off in preparation for the work.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.