The Century Walk Corporation

'Cat in the Hat' statue bounds into town from California

September 5, 2007 — Source: Naperville Sun, The (IL) — Author: Emily McFarlan

In Dr. Seuss' book "The Cat in the Hat," the cat introduced a game called "Fun with a box."

Tuesday afternoon, he wanted to play in Naperville when a crate carrying an eight-foot tall monument of Dr. Seuss' beloved character arrived on the back of a semi truck at the Public Works Department at 414 W. Fifth Ave.

"It's a big ordeal to get him here," said Framed Expressions Gallery owner Colette Ruopp, who represents The Art of Dr. Seuss project.

The bronze statue is the latest piece acquired by Century Walk, an ongoing public art program that has unveiled 30 pieces in the downtown area commemorating local visionaries and the city's history.

Ruopp, who sells works from The Art of Dr. Seuss project at her gallery, has worked with Century Walk President Bob Bobosky for more than a year to purchase the Cat in the Hat monument, one of nine commissioned as part of the Theodor Seuss Geisel estate. She and her husband, Ray Ruopp, donated $15,000 to bring the monument to Naperville.

Although Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, never lived in the city, Ruopp said his books have long inspired local children.

"He has touched all the different residents of Naperville, and it's another way for the Century Walk to inspire," she said. "Some people don't take the time to learn about the history of each piece on the Century Walk. This takes no explanation."

True to form, the arrival of the Cat in the Hat heralded all sorts of mischief.

Bobosky said the Public Works department had little more than three hours' notice that the truck transporting the monument from the California foundry where it was created was on its way. The monumental cat was taken to the department because it had the equipment and manpower necessary to lift the 1,600-pound crate carrying it from the back of the truck.

"We have to deal with the unexpected all the time. That's the nature of Public Works," Tim Cardella, Strategic Services supervisor said.

The Cat in the Hat monument will remain at the department while arrangements are made to transport it to the children's services department at Nichols Library, 200 W. Jefferson Ave. It will be installed permanently at Jefferson Avenue and Eagle Street once construction on the Nichols parking deck is completed in about two years.

"We got the Cat in the Hat here," Bobosky said. "We'll feel a lot better when he's finally placed in his home." 

Contact Emily McFarlan at emcfarlan@scn1.com  or 630-416-5196.

Truck driver Pat Enright delivers the monumental "Cat in the Hat" sculpture to the Naperville Department of Public Works lot Tuesday. The sculpture is a tribute to Dr. Seuss and his book "The Cat in the Hat," left.

Danielle Gardner / Staff Photographer


Section: AROUND TOWN — Page: 3