Emergency restoration on Last Chance Joe, a 36-foot statue of a prospector complete with a beard, floppy hat and pistol on each hip, may begin this week depending on the restorer’s inspection and bid.
“He’s deteriorating so rapidly that our restoration needs change day to day, which impacts costs, ” said Kelly Reis, Sparks Museum manager. “We’re accepting donations and reaching out into the community” for the donations needed to completely restore “Joe”.
In the meantime he’s cracking from outdoor exposure, and Reis said some restoration must begin immediately “so we can save him.”
Joe arrived in Sparks on a flatbed rail car in l958 and became a community icon on display in front of the Nugget Hotel for 56 years. Last year the new owners of the hotel donated him to the museum, and he was moved to his current site outside the museum.
The Sparks Museum & Cultural Center has set a goal of $25,000 in donations to completely restore Joe to his original state, maintain him and pay for his move to the museum. Donations can be made online at www.nevadafund.org/Last-Chance-Joe-Fund or at the museum, 814 Victorian Ave., Sparks.