The Great Depression
Ultimately, French's fee totaled $25,000, Dana's totaled $2,000, and the total cost of the completed project was estimated at $50,000. In October of 1929, the New York Stock Exchange crashed and the subsequent depression that followed by no means spared Muncie. Consequently, the statue itself went into storage, and the committee for the statue focused on paying the compensation that they were legally bound to with French and Dana, putting off the construction of the monument. Beneficence being his last work, French died in 1931, and Dana passed in 1933; neither man saw the completion of their project. Despite the economic hardship that plagued Muncie and the rest of the country, the community dedicated themselves to finishing the job. The Ball Recognition Association formed to channel donations from the financially strapped community toward the completion of the entire monument, for which remaining costs approximated $28,000.
Pictured at the 1937 dedication from left to right: Glen Frank, George Ball, Lemuel Pittenger, Frank Ball.
In 1937, the Association far exceeded its goal by $3,500, and the number of donors exceeded 11,000 individuals and organizations. On June 21, 1937, groundbreaking commenced at the current site of the statue, and the project was ready for completion by September. For the finishing stages of the project, George Schrieber (Ball State's architectural consultant) and Lewis Cole (Ball State's landscaping consultant) assumed their respective duties as architect and landscaper. Albert Glaser, a local contractor, donated the services of his company free of charge, providing the architectural elements, constructing the complex, and erecting the statue. On September 26, 1937, the long awaited dedication of the monument took place, attracting the attention of several radio stations: WLBC Muncie, WIRE Indianapolis, and WLW Cincinatti, which channeled its broadcast nation-wide to forty-two additional stations. The fact that the Muncie community bound together so tightly and contributed so selflessly to finish the project amidst the Great Depression reflects their intense regard for the Ball brothers.
Radio broadcasters at the unveiling of Beneficence at the dedication ceremony, 1937.