By David Pendered
Cousins Properties has succeeded in its name for the swift elimination of a statue of a Accomplice cavalryman who later was the primary president of a predecessor of Norfolk Southern Railway. The statue is on the gateway of the constructing in Midtown Cousins bought from Norfolk Southern.
Norfolk Southern has agreed to pay the price of shifting the statue of Samuel Spencer and storing the statue, indefinitely, till Atlanta decides its destiny. The town owns the statue. For now, the statue is headed to a warehouse in Lilburn, in accordance with legislation slated for approval April 19 by the Atlanta Metropolis Council.
The statue had been a supply of Norfolk Southern’s company satisfaction for the reason that statue was moved in 2009 from Downtown Atlanta to the Norfolk Southern workplaces, overlooking Peachtree Avenue on a website close to the Excessive Museum of Artwork. The bronze statue was paid for with donations from 30,000 firm workers and the design staff and sculptor, Daniel Chester French, used an identical motif of their statue of Abraham Lincoln within the Lincoln Memorial on the Nationwide Mall, in accordance with a report by Atlanta videographer Lance Russell.
Provided that the memorial was unveiled in 1919, it qualifies as a “Jim Crow Period” monument that was, “Erected with a purpose to reinforce white political and social energy [and it] Superior Misplaced Trigger mythology,” in accordance with the 2017 report of Atlanta’s “Advisory Committee on Metropolis of Atlanta Avenue Names and Monuments Related to the Confederacy.
The railway has since consolidated its company construction to Atlanta, from Norfolk, in a brand new headquarters on West Peachtree Avenue.
Cousins purchased the outdated Norfolk Southern workplace constructing for $88 million on March 1, 2019, in accordance with Fulton County tax data.
Cousins, performing by way of a subsidiary, Cousins 1200 Guardian LLC, is pushing for the statue to be eliminated as shortly as potential, in accordance with laws pending at Atlanta Metropolis Corridor:
- “This Metropolis Monument is presently situated on non-public property close to the Woodruff Arts Heart and the property proprietor must take away the Samuel Spencer monument as shortly as potential as a result of the Norfolk Southern company headquarters has moved and the brand new proprietor of the property requires it’s elimination. Norfolk Southern will take away and retailer the monument at their expense in order that the Metropolis has time to plan a correct relocation course of and choose a brand new website.”
The statue is in imminent hazard, in accordance with the laws:
- “This monument might turn out to be imperiled if not eliminated shortly. … This monument is now deemed controversial as a result of it was lately printed that the railroad founder had served within the Accomplice Calvary. As a result of the historic narrative has modified lately, the perfect plan is to retailer the monument till a everlasting resolution for displaying the monument may be decided.”
The push to take away the statue from public view follows an issue over Norfolk Southern’s enlargement plans in northwest Atlanta on the former Chattahoochee Brick Co. The manufacturing facility was owned by a former Atlanta police chief and mayor, James English, who used a whole bunch of leased convict laborers, most of them Black males, to make bricks. Norfolk Southern announced Feb. 18 it was dropping plans to construct a switch facility on the website.
Cousins has a legacy of influential management in Atlanta.
Philanthropic work contains that of Larry Gellerstedt, who served as govt chairman of Cousins’ board till 2020, and beforehand served as CEO and president from 2009 to 2019. Gellerstedt served on town’s Accomplice Advisory Committee, and now serves as vice chair of the Robert W. Woodruff Basis, which reported in 2019 property of $721 million, in accordance with guidestar.com; chair of Grady Memorial Hospital Corp.; and on boards together with Georgia Energy and Metro Atlanta Chamber, in accordance with reviews together with bio on the Woodruff web page.
The Atlanta Metropolis Council’s Finance/Govt Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to simply accept Norfolk Southern’s donation of the price of shifting and storing the statue. The associated fee was not specified within the laws.
The statue honors Samuel Spenser, who served 12 years as the primary president of Southern Railway. Spencer seems to have been a enterprise dynamo of his period. He lived from 1854-1918 and an abstract of his papers on the College of North Carolina observes he was: “president of six railroads, together with the Baltimore and Ohio, 1887-1888, and the Southern, 1894-1906. He was a director of not less than ten railroads and of a number of banks and different corporations.”
Spencer additionally was within the Accomplice Military and the son-in-law of Accomplice Brigadier Gen. Henry Lewis Benning, a Georgia Supreme Courtroom justice and namesake of Fort Benning, situated close to Columbus.
The UNC assortment of Spencer’s papers contains his work with:
- ‘[I]n specific the Baltimore & Ohio, Southern, Savannah & Memphis, and Lengthy Island roads, and to different corporations with which he was related, together with the Columbus (Ga.) water works; Pittsburgh & Chicago Gasoline & Coal Co;, West Virginia Oil Co.; two coke manufacturing corporations; the Union Stockyard Firm of Chicago; Westinghouse Electrical Company of Pittsburgh, together with correspondence with George Westinghouse; and New York bankers Drexel, Morgan & Firm, for whom he was the railroad knowledgeable.
- “Different correspondents embody many nationwide enterprise and political leaders of the publish Civil Battle interval, amongst them his father-in- regulation, Henry Lewis Benning (1814-1875), Georgia Supreme Courtroom justice and Accomplice brigadier normal. Additionally included are Spencer’s detailed letters whereas touring within the western United States and Mexico, 1885, and supplies, 1915-1919, of his son, Henry B. Spencer, regarding the Tennessee Railway Firm. A scrapbook incorporates clippings, correspondence, and speeches on railroad regulation, 1905-1906.”