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Crews haul massive rock to library lawn

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By Kevin Hanson-The Courier-Herald

How does one pick up, transport and place a massive slab of stone weighing more than 6 tons?

Very carefully. And with plenty of planning, patience, manpower and heavy equipment.

Everything came together as planned, without too much of a hitch, last week when work crews hauled an impressive piece of Wilkeson sandstone to the grounds in front of the Enumclaw Public Library. There, it will serve as the base for the Logging Legacy Memorial, a more-than-life-size bronze casting that will honor the timber industry that, at one time, was Enumclaw's economic lifeblood.

The art work, now partially complete, features a pair of oxen and a drover, working to pull a log. The piece, when complete, will measure about 60 feet in length and stand about 16 feet tall.

Initially, it was figured the base would consist of several pieces of sandstone. But that changed when Chuch Nelson, owner of Wilkeson Sandstone Quarry, discovered a single piece that appeared to be perfect.

A pair of small cranes combined to hoist the rock, which officially checked in at 137,000 pounds, onto a flatbed trailer. The rig meandered downhill, arriving in Enumclaw about noon July 11, where a powerful crane was waiting.

Finding a single crane to do the trick was no simple chore, according to Tom Poe, the mastermind and guiding force behind the project from the beginning. When making calls to inquire about renting a crane and explaining the size of rock needing to be moved, “most of them laughed at me,” Poe said.

Finally, he found a crane capable of handling the job. Sitting on the library lawn, it carefully lifted the slab of sandstone and gently set it upon a bed of gravel - again and again and again. It took multiple tries before crews scooped and scraped enough gravel to get the massive rock angled just right.

Artist Dan Snider was on hand to assure everything ended up just as he envisioned.

Poe said the project is well on the way to completion, although there is still bronze work to be done and money to be raised. When the project was first proposed nearly eight years ago, cost estimates were pegged at about $470,000; now, with the rising cost of supplies, the final price tag will climb well past $500,000, Poe said.

Despite the work to be done, Poe is hoping to see the project finished by October.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at khanson@courierherald.com.

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