Widow of Cementland creator undeterred by warehouse fire on property

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - The widow of a well-known St. Louis artist is stunned after a fire destroyed art work created by her late husband.

That artist, Bob Cassilly, was working on Cementland when he died in what the medical examiner determined was an accident.

Cassilly was known for creating Turtle Park across from the Saint Louis Zoo and the City Museum.

“I feel a little shell shocked at the moment,” Giovanna Cassilly said.

After her husband’s death in 2011, Giovanna took over the Cementland project.

On Thursday night, a fire heavily damaged a warehouse on the property that contained hundreds of Cassilly’s molds, which were capable of recreating much of his work.

“There’s a lot of money in the art, the creations of Bob Cassilly; and now they’re gone,” said Al Watkins, Giovanna Cassilly’s attorney.

Cassilly said she wanted to use any income to continue Bob’s dream of making Cementland a reality.

Since his death, she said the place has been hit by two fires and burglaries, as well as people damaging the property and stealing valuable works of art. Firefighters and bomb and arson investigators were on the scene Friday. Fire crews were dousing hot spots and arson officials searching for a cause.

“Being there was no electricity to the building, no gas to the building, just for peace of mind on our part,” Riverview Fire Chief Keith Goldstein said.

The crimes, the fires, and the vandalism are not going to stop Cassilly’s widow from moving forward on her late husband’s final project.

“I feel a sense of responsibly to Bob’s spirit. I have no intention to try be Bob by any means. but I do intend on preserving as much as I can,” she said.

As Fox 2 News reported in October, she and her attorney continue to press forward on Bob Cassilly’s cause of death. Although the medical examiner said it was an accident, Giovanna and her attorney remain convinced it was murder.