Statue to honor Hononegah Community High School namesake

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Artist's rendering of the Hononegah statue

Most graduates of Hononegah Community High School (HCHS) have always been “true to their School.” Many former students still live in the Rockton/Roscoe communities and stay involved with their former school.

A large percentage of teachers at HCHS attended Hononegah and remember their years there with fondness and pride. Many have chosen to return to the community.

One of those former students, Charlotte Larrison, class of 1959, has lived in Rockton all of her life, and has remained interested on what goes on at the school. She is a member of the alumni club and rides in the homecoming parade every year. All five of her children are graduates of HCHS.

While taking her daily walk around downtown Rockton last summer, she started thinking about what she and perhaps some of her old classmates could do to preserve the history of her alma mater, as well as honoring its namesake Hononegah.

The Rockton community was founded by Stephen Mack, Jr. and is where Mack and his wife Hinu Nik Wiga, (whom he later named Hononegah,) raised their family of nine children.

Some type of memorial or tribute to Hononegah might be a fitting recognition to the school as well as to the community.

A few years ago, “Rockton Remembers,” a group of HCHS grads and community members, worked together to raise money to purchase memorial park benches. Many Rockton residents were enthusiastic about making donations. The group was able to purchase 61 black wrought iron memorial benches.

Larrison’s idea was to raise enough money to place a large fiberglass statue of Hononegah in a prominent spot near the school.

The whole idea was pretty much a dream until she mentioned it to Rockton resident and former school-chum Judy Crane Truman.

Truman and Larrison put their heads together and began formulating some ideas to make the dream a reality. The ladies joke that Larrison is the dreamer and Truman is the engine, both necessary to making the project a reality.

Truman immediately rejected the idea of a fiberglass statue. She suggested the life-size statue be cast in bronze. “It would look better and last a lot longer.”

Truman’s husband Gene got involved with the project, offering advice and accompanying the ladies to Art Castings of Illinois in Oregon, IL, a company that specializes in creating fine art bronze castings.

A Rockton Remembers Hononegah Statue Fund has been established at First National Bank and Trust in Rockton. Truman said donations, large or small, will be gratefully accepted. Rockton Remembers is a 501(c)(3) not for profit entity.

Truman and Larrison are hopeful that the statue will be completed and installed by the fall of 2022. The goal is to raise $110,000.

To be continued….

Follow the story and progress of The Hononegah Statue Project on Rockton-Roscoe News during the coming months.

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