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Joe Palooka

Joe Palooka was one of the most famous comic strip characters in the 1940's. The cartoon figure was created by cartoonist Ham Fisher in 1928 as a 15-year-old who beat up neighborhood bullies. As he grew older, he became a boxing champion managed by Knobby Walsh.

Palooka became the country's most patriotic character in 1942 when he stepped down from the ring to enlist as a private in the United States Army.

Palooka was such a hero that when the Limestone Industry planned to celebrate the business' 100th anniversary in 1948, it decided to reproduce Palooka's likeness. Bedford stone carvers' George Hitchcock and Harry Easton began working on the statue at the Indiana Limestone Company and finished the work on Bedford's square.

Fisher and 4,500 people attended the dedication on June 16, 1948. The statue was placed at the Indiana Limestone's Dickinson Park on old IN 37. After being vandalized numerous times the statue was moved to the Hoosier-Joyner Limestone Mill in Oolitic.

After several years the statue was taken to the Bedford FOP Park. In 1984 the Bedford FOP donated the statue to Oolitic, and it was moved to its present location on Main Street between the Town Hall and the Post Office.

This information was found on the following website: http://www.kiva.net/~jonjeff/joe_palooka.htm 

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