PRESS RELEASE - Claude Herbert Memorial

December 5, 2022

From the Office of the Mayor; Press Release

28 November 2022


Media Contact: Ally Midgley, [email protected] 812-235-2801


Art Spaces, Inc. is pleased to announce that the restoration of the commemorative monument honoring 19th- century hero, Claude Herbert, has been completed and installed at the historic corner of 5th Street and Wabash Avenue in Downtown Terre Haute.

The memorial honors teenage Spanish-American War veteran, Claude Herbert, who was working as a Santa Claus at Havens and Geddes department store when a fire broke out in December of 1898. Herbert led a group of children out of the store to safety, and then heroically returned to the store to assist another group, who unbeknownst to him, had already escaped out a back door. Tragically, Herbert did not make it out of the fire.

The original memorial, which was located at the site of the department store at 5th and Wabash was badly damaged in a horse and buggy accident. A rebuilt memorial was installed and eventually was moved to the government plaza near Terre Haute City Hall. The most recent version of the memorial was restored by Tom Fansler of Tiii Environments, and local artist Bill Wolfe created a bronze figure he has titled “Ascending Soul,” to add meaning and interest to the monument.

Mayor Duke Bennett says, “It is a great pleasure to have the Claude Herbert Memorial restored and re-installed in a downtown location that provides the meaning and importance that this piece deserves.  In our community there are many people who act heroically – and in so doing take enormous risks to save others. Claude Herbert sacrificed his life as he helped many people escape the horrific Havens and Geddes fire in 1898. In addition to recognizing the courage of this remarkable young man, and the generosity of those that have helped to preserve his memory, it is my fondest hope that the Claude Herbert Memorial will serve as a tribute to the generosity and courage that inspire and define our community and all of the courageous individuals that do not hesitate to help others facing true adversity and danger.


I am grateful to Thompson Thrift for their generous contribution to this effort and to Art Spaces, Inc. for their assistance.  Congratulations to Bill Wolfe and thank you, for capturing the spirit of the memorial in the new bronze work, Ascending Soul.”


A brief ribbon cutting and dedication of the memorial in its new location will be held on Saturday, December 3rd at 5:00pm at the corner of 5th and Wabash in downtown Terre Haute.  It is open to anyone that would like to attend, and will precede the beginning of the Miracle on 7th Street parade that evening.



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