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"Handless" Jacques has hands!

Written by Jessica Denton, GPCAAC Press Secretary/Media

Handless no more!

Phase One of restoration to Handless Jacques is complete!

In mid-September, Mike Cahill and volunteers finished up their work on Jacques, giving him a new coat, tails, slacks, shoes, a patriotic bowtie, a Lakeside daisy boutonniere and of course- hands!

The 1960s-era 30-foot fiberglass statue of a mustached maître d' has stood just to the east of the Mickey Mart gas station on Route 163 in Lakeside Marblehead for about 50 years.

We would like to thank Mike for his tireless work on the project, as well as the volunteers, donators and residents for helping out.

There's still plenty more to come to give Jacques the landscaping, signage and lighting he deserves.

Stay tuned!

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The Wall Street Journal
Sept. 2022

Handless Jacques (and his twin Pierre) continue to make headlines - this time in one of the most prominent newspapers in the world!

Marblehead's own Jacques and the GPCAAC were featured in an article by Clare Ansberry in the Wall Street Journal on September 8, 2022.

Project lead Mike Cahill, GPCAAC Press Secretary Jessica Denton and other key players spoke to Clare about the restoration of a 30-foot tall fiberglass statue nicknamed "Handless Jacques."

Clare dove into Jacques and his twin Pierre's history, and covered their renovations and hopes for the future.

Check out this link to be taken to the story. 

Don't forget we still have plenty of opportunities to volunteer and donate to this headline-making piece of history!

Please share everywhere you can, we want the momentum to keep going!

As always, thank you!!!

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Lending a "Helping Hand" to Handless Jacques
August 2022

Written by Jessica Denton, GPCAAC Press Secretary/Media

It won't be long now before "Handless" Jacques can wave to passerby with his newly made fiberglass hands!

The 1960s-era 30-foot fiberglass statue of a mustached maître d' has stood just to the east of the Mickey Mart gas station on Route 163 in Lakeside Marblehead for about 50 years.

Once upon a time, Jacques and his twin "Pierre" had hands, and stood outside of a small chain of roast beef restaurants in both Marion and Mansfield, Ohio.

After the restaurants closed and the friendly giants were out of a gig, Jacques was moved to Marblehead, where he has stood since about 1972.

Now Jacques is getting a fresh new look!

The project is a collaboration between Mike Cahill, a former Marblehead builder, and the Greater Port Clinton Area Arts Council. Fundraising is underway to restore him.

Dawning his pencil mustache and paper hat, Jacques was once also holding a tray of food, but somewhere along the line it was lost. Now the new hands will be giving a thumbs up and the other will be extended to shake your hand.

The hands are formed in sand first, then a layer of fiberglass is applied. After that the hand is flipped over and sculpted again in sand and fiberglassed again. Then the sand is rinsed out and the hands are finished!

This project will be completed in several phases throughout the course of the next few years.

Since the spring of 2022, scaffolding has been built around Jacques and work has begun on renovations from top to bottom and the addition of hands to this local icon.

For now, work will resume on Jacques after Labor Day until the snow starts to fly and then again in the spring. What is needed now is donations, volunteers and plenty of positive energy!

The hope is that Jacques can be restored to his former glory and become a friendly face to greet the millions of people who travel to the Marblehead peninsula each year.

Volunteers can email Cahill at restorejacques.cros.net. If you're interested in donating to the cause, make a tax-deductible donation to the GPCAAC PayPal account.

If you're not comfortable donating online, please send a check to GPCAAC at P.O. Box 66, Port Clinton, OH 43452. Please designate in the memo line that you want the money to be reserved for Jacques restoration.

OTHER JACQUES NEWS:

After news broke that Marblehead's big guy would be given new coattails, a fresh layer of fiberglass and new hands, people from all across the country have weighed in on their memories of this iconic piece of large scale art.

He's become quite the viral sensation, with more than 25,000 people viewing the posts on the GPCAAC Facebook page and in local newspapers and publications.

Jacques has also become a YouTube star, being featured on the "Just a Quick Detour" page!

YouTube: "Just a Quick Detour" Handless Jacques June 2022

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Don't worry, we haven't forgotten about Handless Jacques!

The 30-foot tall magnificent maître-de of Marblehead, affectionately known as "Handless Jacques", made a big splash online in the spring when news broke of a restoration campaign.

In the spring, Mike Cahill and eager volunteers began on restoring the fiberglass statue and the project is moving along swiftly.

Work has paused for the summer as to not cause a distraction along Route 163, located next to the BP/Mickey Mart gas station in Marblehead.

A few months ago we were approached by Pittsburgh-based YouTubers Cassie and Ryan, who run the "Just a Quick Detour" YouTube channel.

The duo were working on a video on the mystery of Jacques, after seeing his viral success online and in the news in the spring.

Greater Port Clinton Area Arts Council Press Secretary Jessica Denton spoke to them about our involvement in the large-scale art project and fundraising efforts.

On Monday afternoon, the video titled "Road Trip America: Handless Jacques" made its debut, and we are so excited to share it with you!

We are also over-the-moon excited to see that Jacques twin brother "Pierre" has been found in a field off I-71 and he is undergoing restoration efforts as well!

Soon, TWO handless giants will tower over Ohio once more!

Thank you so much to Cassie and Ryan for their interest in the project! Go like and subscribe to their "Just a Quick Detour" channel and learn more about Jacques, Pierre and the people who are working to save them.

Soon we will launch an official fundraising campaign for Jacques, as well as announce fundraising events and calls for volunteers. Be a part of the historic event!

Also, be sure to follow the GPCAAC Facebook page and this blog for updates. There's still so much good news to come!

Click on the "Donate" button below to help Jacques!

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Port Clinton News Herald Article
March 2022

By Sheri Trusty, Correspondent
 

MARBLEHEAD — He’s old, he’s broken, and he’s not originally from town, but Handless Jacques is one of the most recognizable and well-loved characters in Marblehead.

Starting this spring, the 32-foot-tall fiberglass statue will be undergoing renovations that will give him the new life — and new hands — he needs to entertain locals and tourists for generations to come.

“He’s a staple in Marblehead. People ask me about him all the time. They stop and sketch him or take photos with him,” said Jamie Erfman, manager of the Mickey Mart next door to the field where Handless Jacques stands. “He’s a landmark. I tell people we’re the station next to the tall man. I love that they’re restoring him.”

Restoration work on Handless Jacques will be done by award-winning, National Park-certified restoration contractor Mike Cahill of Florida. Cahill is a retired local contractor and the former owner of Professional Homes and Offices. During the summers of 1966-1977, he often camped with his family by the lake.

Handless Jacques will look good for next 50 years

“I grew up camping in the area, and I’ve been looking at the statue my entire life,” Cahill said.

Now Cahill wants to restore Jacques to ensure future generations can enjoy him as well.

“When it’s done, it’s going to be something Marblehead can be proud of for the next 50 years instead of something they just look at for 50 years,” Cahill said.

Handless Jacques got his start as a twin waiter outside a sandwich shop in Marion in the 1960s, where he held a roast beef sandwich on a serving tray. He was moved to Danbury Township in the 1970s and now stands on property owned by Dave Young, who has given his full support to the restoration project, Cahill said.

Through the years, Jacques’ body slowly deteriorated but his popularity quickly grew. The tray and his hands broke off long ago, his feet have holes, his coattails are broken, and his paint continually peels away.

The statue will be repaired in a three-phase, two-year project. Cahill plans to work only in the spring and fall to avoid interrupting the tourist season. In the first phase, Cahill will repair and paint the statue, including replacing the hands. During the second phase, he will install local limestone, a small lighthouse, and a welcome sign. The third phase will include solar LED lighting.

“It will be built to National Park standards,” Cahill said. “I’m not going to change anything, but what you see now will be different when he’s cleaned and fixed.”

Cahill is donating his time to the project, so he partnered with the Greater Port Clinton Area Arts Council (GPCAAC) to obtain help with fundraising for the expenses which he estimates at between $68,000 and $89,000. As a nonprofit organization, GPCAAC has the resources to help.

Great opportunity to see large-scale art

“Mike approached Carol Morgan, our president about this. Since he’s not profiting off it, he asked if the arts council could get involved as a 501(c)3,” said GPCAAC press secretary Jesse Denton. “The arts council is known and trusted in the community, and this is a great opportunity to see some large-scale art in the area and get people excited about it.”

To complete the project, Cahill will need more than just monetary donations. He also needs volunteer help. Assistance is needed in several areas, including skilled labor, grounds cleaning, and promotion.

“The goal is to get local businesses, local contractors, local residents and local investors involved in the project,” Denton said. “It’s something everyone can have a hand in and be proud of.”

Response to the project has been overwhelming since Denton announced it publicly, Cahill said.

“It’s had over 20,000 hits online,” Cahill said. “I haven’t had any pushback on this, but if I don’t get help with this, it’s not going to happen.”

Fundraisers are being planned, including one which may feature parts of the second Handless Jacques, which Cahill recently discovered is laying unused in an Ohio  farm field. In the meantime, Cahill hopes to hear from people willing to donate time and money to repairing Marblehead’s Handless Jacques.

“I would love to see him fixed up,” Denton said. “Jacques deserves it.”

For more information or to donate to the restoration project, visit gpcaac.org and click on the “Jacques” link under the “More” tab at the top of the page. To inquire about volunteer opportunities, contact Mike Cahill at restorejacques@cros.net.

Contact correspondent Sheri Trusty at sheritrusty4@gmail.com.

Visit and subscribe to the Port Clinton News Herald page to see more images of Jacques!
https://www.portclintonnewsherald.com/story/news/2022/03/09/marbleheads-handless-jacque-statue-cleaned-and-fixed/9409094002/
 

Help "Handless Jacques" get new hands!
February 2022

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An old Lakeside Marblehead area icon could be getting a facelift- and a new set of hands- if one local builder can raise the funds for the project.
 

For the last fifty years, "Handless Jacques", a 32-foot fiberglass statue of a mustached Frenchman, has been standing outside of the BP Mickey Mart gas station on Route 163 in Danbury Township.

In the late 1960s, Jacques stood outside of a locally-owned sandwich shop in Marion, leaning out over the road carrying a tray with a huge fiberglass roast beef sandwich.

By the 1970s, the shop was bought out by a large chain and Jacques was out of a job.

He was loaded onto a flatbed truck and moved to Danbury Township in the early 1970s, where he has stood and delighted millions of passerby on their way to Marblehead for several generations.

But time and the northwest Ohio weather has not been kind to Jacques. His paint has faded, he's lost his tray and his hands, his coattails and has several holes in his legs and shoes.

However, one former local builder aims to give Jacques a makeover, restoring him to his former glory - but he wants local help to complete the project.

Mike Cahill, who owned Professional Homes and Offices, Inc. out of Medina and then Marblehead, wants to restore Jacques to be the welcoming agent of the Marblehead Peninsula.

"Everyone has been driving past this statue for fifty-plus years," Cahill said. "It brings a smile to everyone's face. People stop and take pictures with him."

All in all, the price tag to restore Jacques was quoted between $68,000 and $89,000, but Cahill said he is up for the challenge.

"It's not your average project," he said. "But the timing is good."

The stars seem to be aligning in Cahill's favor as well.

Late last year Cahill approached the Danbury Township trustees about his idea of breathing life back into the large statue and in February 2022 they were reviewing the zoning laws.

Dave Young, of Young's RV, owns the property Jacques stands on and is willing to work with Cahill on the project.

Corporate BP/Mickey Mart has considered to move their sign to give a clear view of the giant. Managers have also offered to donate power, water and use of the facilities during renovations.

What he needs now is community support and donations from across the peninsula and for interested parties to get involved. And he needs volunteers too.

"The more the merrier. I need all sorts of skills," he said of volunteers. Besides the physical restoration, the project will need the public to spread the word, help recruit others on this unique opportunity.

Cahill's plan is split up into three phases of construction.

First is to fix the statue itself, starting with the broken coattails, down to the feet and then back up again. It will take at least 120 gallons of fiberglass resin, he said.

In Cahill's mind, Jacques will have one hand outstretched, as if to shake your hand. The other will hold a flag pole.

The second phase includes adding signage, stonework and landscaping.

The third is to add solar-powered energy efficient LED lighting around the statue.

Construction will take place in the mild spring and fall seasons, he said, not to cause too much disruption in the heavy trafficked summer months.

Despite having made no formal announcements of Jacques makeover yet, Cahill said it's had quite the robust reaction.

He has enlisted the help of the Greater Port Clinton Area Arts Council to help with fundraising and having a 501c3 behind the project.

The Marblehead Chamber of Commerce has offered to put a donate button on their web pages and help generate donations, he said. Lake Erie Shores and Islands tourism board has also joined the cause.

Though he moved to Venice, Florida, and he hung up his hat working in building 10 years ago to care for ailing family members, on a recent visit back to Marblehead, Cahill said Jacques grabbed his attention and he couldn't stop thinking of him.

He is hopeful that the people of the peninsula, as well as local businesses and other organizations will jump in to that dream with him.

He wants to enlist as much local support and to do the construction with local companies. The more volunteers - from the actual renovation, supplies, equipment and just spreading the word - the quicker the project can get started.

"I want to let the public decide if they want this," he said. "It's about the community. It's up to them."

To make a donation, please visit the Greater Port Clinton Area Arts Council at The Arts Garage.

Follow our social media accounts for more updates.

Interested parties can also send inquiries by email to restorejacques@cros.net.

Please include your name, skill sets and how you would like to help.

Thank you for your interest in donating to the restoration of Handless Jacques!

Please click the "Donate" button below to donate through the GPCAAC PayPal account!

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