Visionary fitted for new glasses

Sculptor making new, tougher pair for Rouse statue


A sturdier pair of eyeglasses that will be more resistant to vandalism are being retrofitted on the slightly larger-than-life bronze statue of James W. Rouse, a Columbia Association spokeswoman said.

The sculpture of the visionary developer of Columbia, who died in 1996, was removed from its site near Lake Kittamaqundi in Town Center last week.

The statue's creator, William F. Duffy, who is adding the new glasses, said one side of Rouse's existing eyeglass frames were removed by recent vandalism.

"Somebody wrenched and probably stuck a lever in between the glasses and broke them off," he said. "What I am doing is putting on a stronger and heavy-duty pair of glasses in bronze."

Rouse's sculpture has seen a spate of vandalism since it was commissioned in 1986. The statue, along with that of his older brother, Willard G. Rouse, who was executive vice president of the Rouse Co., were removed from Symphony Woods in 1999 and placed in storage because of a vandalism attempt.

The statues, which cost $70,000 to create, were retrieved from storage in 2002 and placed at the Lake Kittamaqundi site.

Rouse's statue will return to the lakefront next week, said Karen Hawkins, a spokeswoman for Columbia Association.

In addition to the new eyewear, Duffy said, the James W. Rouse sculpture will receive a weather-resistant wax coating.

Willard G. Rouse's statue will receive minor improvements, as well, Duffy said. He added that there was little damage done to the statue, other than the occasional times when vandals targeted the bronze writing utensil.

"They did bend his pencil sometimes," he said.

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