Lady in Waiting

Gusty conditions have delayed the return of “Victory” to the top of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument for the last three days (including today), creating what optimists might call a “wind-win” situation as passersby have scored some extra face time with the iconic statue for the first time since she was created 118 years ago. 

While she waits, “Victory” sits on the southwest quad of the Circle in a cage of metal beams and yellow police tape. Not only is she still in style, she is also newly repaired. At Stout Field, just a few miles away, holes in the bronze statue were sealed, and all of its seams, which had only ever been pinned together, were welded tight before the pins were replaced. She cost $13,700 to create over a century ago, and $1.5 million to fix this year.

After “Victory” is returned to her lofty base—a pole with such little clearance that 20 mph breezes delay the job—the task of adding a patina, wax, and lacquer to the new metal patches will begin. And there she will likely remain through our lifetime, as conservationists have reported that she is in “amazing shape.” So get your close-up view of “Victory” soon, before the opportunity disappears with the wind. 

Photos by Mike Botkin.

Fernandez began writing for Indianapolis Monthly in 1995 while studying journalism at Indiana University. One of her freelance assignments required her to join a women's full-tackle football team for a season. She joined the staff in 2005 to edit IM's ancillary publications, including Indianapolis Monthly Home. In 2011, she became a senior editor responsible for the Circle City section as well as coverage of shopping, homes, and design-related topics. Now the director of editorial operations, she lives in Garfield Park.