Naper Homestead debuts statue of city’s founder

Joseph Naper, the founder of Naperville is alive again, but this time, he lives in the form of a statue located near the intersection of Mill Street and Jefferson Avenue. The statue is part of the new historical park, Naper Homestead, where Naper formerly lived.

The Naperville Heritage Society/Naper Settlement partnered with nationally recognized, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and artist Dick Locher to design the image for the statue. Artist Jeff Adams then created the sculpture from Locher’s design. Locher’s previous projects include the Dick Tracy statue located along Downtown Naperville’s Riverwalk.

Locher believes that the tribute to Naper is long overdue.

“Great men get great rewards in life,” Locher said. “The president of the United States or the CEO of a business gets recognized right away. Joe Naper, who did it all thinking nothing would ever happen…we want him to become alive.”

The 9-½ foot monument crafted with 2,000 pounds of bronze represents Joseph Naper as a young 33-year-old, when he founded Naper Settlement.

Dozens of Naperville residents gathered at the corner of Mill St. and Jefferson Ave. for the dedication of the Joe Naper statue on Aug. 23, 2013.