A man dropped by the Parks and Recreation Department's maintenance shop on Orchard Avenue about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. Aron Lee, recreation superintendent, was there to greet him.
This unidentified man told the parks rep that he knew where the missing historic marker - as described in Wednesday's edition of the Courier-Post - was located.
Aron Lee didn't have far to go to retrieve the sign. It was in the bed of a pickup owned by Ken Fugate, who works at J&P Scrap Yard, at the corner of Orchard and Warren Barrett Drive.
"Aron put it in the back of his work vehicle and brought it back to the maintainence shop," said Andy Dorian, parks superintendent.
Fugate said following the May 20 storm that blew through Hannibal, many people were dropping off metal items at the scrap yard where he works. Many were just cleaning up their property and wanted to get rid of the debris.
When sorting out the metal scrap, he came across the sign, which was bent in half.
"I thought maybe the city had thrown it away," Fugate said. He tossed it in the back of his pickup truck, and has been driving around with it for two months.
He said Wednesday afternoon that when police questioned him about the sign on Wednesday, he told them, "If I had stolen it, I could have junked it a long time ago."
Why didn't he notify anyone that he had the sign? He said that since he thought they had thrown it away, "I never gave a thought to calling City Hall."
He said there was only about $6 to $7 worth of aluminum in the sign, so he just held onto it, not realizing he had saved a key element of Hannibal's history from ruin.
He wasn't trying to hide the sign, he said. As a music fan, he enjoys attending Music Under the Stars in front of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home on Thursday evenings during the summer, and has had the sign in the bed of his truck while downtown at this music venue.
Aron Lee said that the sign is in pretty bad shape, but Fugate said "a good welder could grind it down and make it look pretty good."
The city hasn't formulated a plan for replacing the sign, but just like the Cardiff Hill sign that was damaged during the same storm, it is in a safe place until repairs and replacement can be undertaken.
UPDATE: Historic sign recovered from scrap yard
Aug 7, 2013 at 12:01 AM Aug 7, 2013 at 11:29 PM