Samuel Spencer Monument

Samuel Spencer Monument, Atlanta, Georgia

Public Art : Samuel Spencer Monument

Sculptor : © Daniel Chester French (April 20, 1850 – October 7, 1931), granite base by Henry Bacon.

Date : Dedicated in 1910

Description: A bronze sculpture of a seated Samuel Spencer perched on a granite pedestal.

Original Locations: The monument was originally erected in a plaza in front of Atlanta's Terminal Station. In 1972 the terminal was torn down, and the monument was was rededicated on July 3, 1970 at a small plaza at Peachtree (Brookwood) Station, better known as Atlanta's Amtrak Station.

Present Location: The monument was relocated in 1996 for the final time. It now stands in Hardy Ivy Park at the intersection of Peachtree and West Peachtree streets, near Peachtree Center, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Commissioned by : Railroad's employees contributed funds (30,000 Southern Railway employees contributed).

Background: Samuel Spencer (1847 – November 26, 1906) was born in Colombus, Georgia. He grew up on a cotton plantation owned by his father, Lambert Spencer. When Samuel was 10 years of age his mother died and he went to the Georgia Military Academy. When the Civil War broke out he served in the COnfederate Army under Generals Nathan B. Forrest and John Bell Hood. Following the War, he continued his studies at both the University of Georgia and the University of Virginia (earning a degree in civil engineering).
In 1869 he became a surveyor for the booming railroads industry. He soon rose up the ranks, becoming superintendent of the Long Island Rail Road (1878) and head of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (1887-1888). In 1894, when J.P. Morgan of Drexel, Morgan and Company, acquired the newly bankrupt Richmond and Danville Railroad (R&D), Samuel found himself the first president of the Southern Railway. Under his leadership the railway had unprecendented success, increasing its passengers to nearly 12 million and its earnings from $17 million to $54 million annually. Ironically, Samuel, at the age of 59, was killed in a railway accident in Virginia on November 26, 1906. It is believed Samuel and some of his companions had been sleeping in car parked on a siding, while on a hunting trip in Virginia south of Lynchburg, when the parked car was struck by a train which was on the wrong track (unlucky!).

History : Shocked by the sudden and untimely death of Samuel Spencer, the employee's of the Southern Railways (30,000 of them) contributed to a fund to build the memorial. They commissioned the sculptor Daniel Chester French to create a bronze sculpture befitting the well admired president. The memorial was unveiled in 1910, in front of Atlanta's Terminal Station.

Samuel Spencer Monument, Hardy Ivy Park, Atlanta, DenverSamuel Spencer Monument, Hardy Ivy Park, Atlanta, DenverSamuel Spencer Monument, Hardy Ivy Park, Atlanta, Denver

Inscription:

 

Samuel Spencer
1847-1906
A Georgian
A Confederate Soldier
and
The First President
of the
Southern Railway Company


Erected by the employees
of that company


Trivia: The Southern Railway's Spencer Shops and the town of Spencer, North Carolina were named in his honor.

The monument is considered to be the David Chester French's prototype for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Other David Chester French Works :
Concord Minute Man, Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts, (1874)
The John Harvard Monument, Harvard Yard in Cambridge, Massachusetts, (1884)
Lewis Cass, National Statuary Hall, Washington D.C., (1889)
Thomas Starr King monument, San Francisco, California, (1891)
Republic, the colossal centerpiece of the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893. His 24-foot gilt-bronze reduced version made in 1918 survives in Chicago.
John Boyle O'Reilly Memorial, intersection of Boylston Street and Westland Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts, (1897)
Rufus Choate memorial, Old Suffolk County Court House, Boston, Massachusetts, (1898)
Richard Morris Hunt Memorial, on the perimeter wall of Central Park, opposite the Frick Collection, in New York City, (1900)
Alma Mater, campus of Columbia University in New York City (1903)
Casting Bread Upon the Waters - George Robert White Memorial, Public Garden in Boston, Massachusetts
Samuel Spencer, 1st president of Southern Railway, located at Hardy Ivy Park in Atlanta, Georgia, (1909).
Standing Lincoln at the Nebraska State Capitol, Lincoln, Nebraska, (1912)
Brooklyn and Manhattan, seated figures from the Manhattan Bridge; Brooklyn Museum in Brooklyn, New York, (1915)
Samuel Francis du Pont Memorial Fountain, Wilmington, Delaware (1921).
Russell Alger Memorial Fountain, Grand Circus Park, Detroit, Michigan (1921).
The seated Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C. (1922)
Beneficence, Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. (1930)
William H. Seward memorial in Florida, New York (1930) [2]
Death and the Wounded Soldier aka Death and Youth, The Chapel of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, St. Paul's School, Concord, New Hampshire
Lady Wisconsin atop the Wisconsin State Capitol building.
Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C. he also sculpted the Thomas Galludet statue at Gallaudet University

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