ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - It's a new adventure for Lewis and Clark. The iconic statue on the St. Louis riverfront is getting a new home.
"The Captains' Return", officially dedicated in 2006 to mark the 200th anniversary of the return to St. Louis by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, is going away for a while.
This morning crews carefully lifted the statue off its platform so it can move to higher---and dryer---ground.
In recent years, the statue served as an unofficial flood gauge for St. Louis with the Mississippi River rising to the top of William Clark's head.
"It amused me the first couple of times but after that my heart began to break because mainly people couldn't see it," said sculptor Harry Weber. "It was inaccessible, I wanted people to be able to walk down and see it."
And soon, they will.
Over the next six months, crews will drain the mud and water that's collected inside "The Captains' Return".
"When it was submerged for so long, a lot of mud and flotsam and jetsam filled up the inside of it and that's mainly what we're worried about," Weber said. "The outside is protected from the elements with a coating and a patina and a lacquer, but the inside is vulnerable to those elements and that's what we're worried about, that it would degrade from the inside. "
When all of the City, Arch, River improvements are completed, the statue will get a new home near the north leg of the Arch.
The new home will also be 17 feet higher up than its original home.
"That's the big thing, to be aligned with something like City, Arch, River," Weber said. "That's going to be big, it's great. It's the biggest thing to happen to downtown St. Louis since the Arch. "
The statue is expected to return in the fall of 2015.