Starting Oct. 4, a bronze likeness of U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes will gaze upon downtown Delaware, where his birthplace was razed nearly 100 years ago.
The statue of the 19th U.S. president will be dedicated on the patio at William and Sandusky streets at 6:30 p.m. during Main Street Delaware's First Friday event. The date coincides with Hayes' 197th birthday.
Standing more than 10 feet tall, including its granite pedestal, the sculpture will fulfill a goal of the local Rutherford B. Hayes Comes Home committee, which chairman Bill Rietz said raised about $125,000 since launching the grassroots project in 2016.
Among those attending the dedication ceremony will be Manuel Maria Caceres Cardozo, Paraguay's ambassador to the United States.
Dustin McLochlin -- curator of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Hayes' longtime home of Fremont -- earlier said Hayes is a revered figure in Paraguay as the arbitrator of a territorial dispute between the nation and Argentina in 1878, after the Paraguayan War.
Hayes' decision granted Paraguay the disputed Gran Chaco region, which is about 60% of the nation's territory.
Among honors given to Hayes, Paraguay named one of its "departments" -- loosely equivalent to a U.S. state -- Presidente Hayes. It covers about 28,150 square miles, and its capital is a city called Villa Hayes, with a population around 57,000.
Rietz said the committee has been in contact with Cardozo since fall 2018, and the ambassador will visit Ohio Wesleyan University among other stops during his Ohio trip.
Since 1926, the downtown's only visible evidence that a president was born in the city has been a memorial plaque in front of the BP station, 17 E. William St. Hayes was born in 1822 in a house that stood there.
Educational materials prepared by the committee note that by 1921, the house was in disrepair and its owner, not related to the Hayes family, sold it to Standard Oil.
When the company learned it owned a president's birthplace, it offered to sell the house to Delaware if the community could raise $8,000. Standard Oil donated the first $500. The community could raise only $4,760, so Standard Oil demolished the house and built the first gas station at the site.
Rietz and other committee members recently traveled to Zanesville to watch sculptor Alan Cottrill and his team pour the statue's bronze components.
Cottrill also produced the statue of Civil War Union Gen. William Starke Rosecrans, which stands in Sunbury's Village Square, Rietz said.
Cottrill said the production process begins with a full-scale statue rendered in clay. That is used to create a rubber mold, with which another statue is cast in wax and then cut into 24 sections. Ceramic is placed over the sections, he said, and when the wax is melted away, the remaining ceramic is used as molds for the bronze.
The statue's sections then are welded together with the same bronze used for the castings, he said.
Delaware city communications specialist Dale Oates said the statue's downtown site was prepared by Cyrus Concrete Construction of Delaware.
"We've been blessed with donations from businesses and individuals," Rietz said.
Participants at the statue's unveiling will include representatives of Greif Inc. and OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital, he said, which are among the main donors.
About 75 donors contributed $500 or more each, he said, and contributions will be accepted until Oct. 4. For more information, go to hayescomeshome.org.
The committee also will donate a bust of the president to Hayes High School.
"There are a couple of other things we'd like to do if the funds come in," Rietz said.
The dedication ceremony also will include the Hayes High School Junior ROTC and music recorded by the Hayes band and singers.
Lee Yoakum, the city government's communications manager, will serve as master of ceremonies, Rietz said.
Rietz said Hayes left Delaware in 1836 to attend school in Norwalk.
The future president went on to become a pro-abolitionist lawyer in Cincinnati who worked on behalf of runaway slaves. He was a Union officer in the Civil War and a three-term Ohio governor before pledging to serve only one term as president.
Hayes' 1876 election was marred by a dispute over electoral votes, which resulted in President Ulysses S. Grant naming an electoral commission to resolve the issue. Hayes, a Republican, emerged the winner in part because of a deal made with Democrats to remove the remaining federal troops from the former Confederacy.
Rietz said Hayes' legacy "is more about the man than the election."
Among his accomplishments as president, Rietz said, Hayes instituted civil-service reforms to eliminate the spoils system, which had been used for hiring federal employees.
Rietz said Hayes also protected minority rights, promoted education, was an Ohio Wesleyan University trustee, helped create Ohio State University when he was governor and "was wounded four times in the Civil War and had his horse shot out from under him five times."