Mary statue is missing at Indian Lake


RUSSELLS POINT – She would have turned 60 years old this August. Constructed in 1964, the nearly 20-foot-tall statue of Our Lady of Fatima was taken away by the powerful EF3 tornado of March 14, 2024. She has not been seen since.

The statue was the idea of George B. Quatman Sr., founder of a non-profit organization, the American Society of Ephesus, Inc. (“ASE”), which owns the statue and the shrine property at Russells Point, Ohio. Quatman died on Sept. 15, 1964, at age 74, just two weeks after the statue’s formal dedication. Known by many as “Our Lady of the Lake,” the shrine was built in Russell’s Point, Ohio during the summer of 1964 after six years of planning overlooking beautiful Indian Lake from the location named “St. Mary’s Point.” It was unveiled in June 1964 and 60 years ago, it was reported that, “Hundreds of people walked, came by car and by boat Sunday to see the 43-foot Our Lady of Fatima Monument unveiled at San Juan Park on St. Mary’s Point.” (Lima News, June 29, 1964). The original unveiling was attended by religious and political leaders, as well as media.

Bill Quatman, grandson of George B. Quatman Sr., and current chairman of ASE, said, “We are determined to find the Mary statue and to build it back. While we likely cannot use the original statue, we will build something equally impressive and respectful.” Bill Quatman visited the site this weekend and said local residents begged him to build back.

“We knew that the shrine was important to the community, but we have been overwhelmed at the requests to build her back,” he said.

The statue and shrine were formally dedicated on Aug. 30, 1964, to St. Mary of the Woods Catholic Church of Russell’s Point. Each August, a Catholic mass is held at the shrine property, often celebrated by the Archbishop of Cincinnati and the priest from St. Mary of the Woods.

Many local residents remember that George B. Quatman purchased the former Sandy Beach Amusement Park at Russell’s Point, renaming the resort as the “San Juan” Ballroom and Resort, after Saint John, the beloved disciple and protector of the Virgin Mary in her later years. It was George Quatman’s goal to make the resort a place where women would feel safe and protected, much in the way Saint John cared for Mary. Extensive improvements were made to the park property by George Quatman and all proceeds from the enterprise went to charity. The cost of the construction of the Our Lady of Fatima statue came solely from the operation of amusement park.

The statue was sculpted and cast out of fiberglass in Florida, with work beginning in February 1963. The face of the Virgin Mary was based on a painting, reputed to be one of the several portraits attributed to St. Luke, which Mr. Quatman saw in an Armenian chapel in Jerusalem. Upon completion, the statue was shipped to Ohio where it was erected atop an over 20-foot tall concrete pedestal designed by the former Lima architectural firm Armstrong & Bowman. Mary’s robes were painted blue and white, trimmed in gold, with fluorescent paint that came alive under concealed black lighting. A water fountain below the statue was programmed with 14 different “fountain scenes.” The original construction included a motorized and lighted platform which permitted the statue to rotate 360 degrees once each hour with 18 different changes of color. In more recent years, the statue has permanently faced outward, overlooking Indian Lake. Mrs. Michael Wayne, an organist from Bellefontaine, recorded music with church organ, chimes and bells which played through loudspeakers every seven minutes. She has been silent for many years, however.

When erected in 1964, the statue was the largest in the world dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, taller by five feet than even the statue in Fatima, Portugal. George B. Quatman had seen the statue at Fatima, Portugal and was inspired to build an even larger version at Indian Lake. Bill Quatman said, “I remember as a child that guests of the San Juan amusement park would stroll past the lights and sounds of the midway games and roller coaster to find a quiet retreat at the north end of the park’s property, where the giant statue rose high above on St. Mary’s Point.”

For more information on ASE and the statue, visit: or

The American Society of Ephesus Inc. (George B. Quatman Foundation) is a non-profit private foundation formed in 1955 and based in Lima, Ohio whose mission is to promote a greater realization and appreciation of the teachings and wonders of God; to preserve and erect religious shrines; and to restore and preserve the burial grounds of outstanding religious leaders. To find out more, please visit

St. Mary of the Woods Parish began in 1927 and promotes the ideals of Christian community through the recognition that each person is given the manifestation of the Spirit of the common good. The parish believes in fostering spiritual growth through scripture, the sacraments and through the use of each person’s gifts in our family.

Our Lady of Fatima Shrine at Russells Point, Ohio is one of the tallest statues of the Virgin Mary in the United States. Dedicated in August 1964, the 43’ tall monument includes a 19’-6” fiberglass statue of Our Lady of Fatima on a concrete pedestal. It is located at St. Mary’s Point, 261 Chase Ave., Russells Point, OH.

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