Samuel Spencer Relocation

Samuel Spencer Monument information

The Samuel Spencer Monument is one of the prize possessions of the City of Atlanta. The sculpture is a national treasure sculptured by Daniel Chester French and monument designed by Henry Bacon, Architect. It is considered the prototype for French’s Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. The sculpture depicts Mr. Spencer sitting in a neo-classical armchair with his coat draped over the back of the chair. The base has carved swags and inscriptions.

Mr. Spencer beloved by the employees as the First President of the Southern Railway and still admired today by railway enthusiast was memorialized with the tribute monument erected at the Atlanta Terminal Station in 1910. The monument consisted of the bronze sculpture with a stone base, two decorative bronze light fixtures and two stone benches. After the station was demolished the sculpture was relocated to an Amtrak Station and then the sculpture, base and light fixtures were assembled in a park created for the 1996 Centennial Olympics. Norfolk Southern Corporation, the successor to Southern Railway, requested that the monument be placed at their office building plaza in Atlanta. It was relocated May 30, 2009.

The stone base was cleaned and repaired by Savannah Clay Works of Savannah, Georgia. The lights were repaired fall of 2009 by Robinson Iron in Alexander City, Alabama. The bronze sculpture and light fixtures underwent a conservation treatment by Nicolas Veloz, FAIC, of Alexandria, Virginia July 2010.

The Relocation

The Conservation

Articles and Announcements of the Samuel Spencer statue

  1. The announcement of the unveiling of the statue in 1910 – “SPENCER STATUE WILL BE GIVEN TO STATE ON MAY 21”, from The Constitution, Atlanta, GA May 8, 1910. Click for full article
    The portrait statue of Samuel Spencer, first president of the Southern railway, of heroic size In bronze, will be unveiled on the plaza of the Atlanta Terminal station and formally presented to Atlanta and Georgia at 2 o'clock In the afternoon of Saturday, May 21.
  2. Unveiling of statue article – “THE STATUE OF THE LATE SAMUEL SPENCER UNVEILED WITH APPROPRIATE EXERCISES” from The Constitution, Atlanta, GA May 22, 1910. Click for full article
  3. An In Memoriam was published after the dedication of the sculpture describing the life of Samuel Spencer, the desire of the employees to erect a memorial, how voluntary contributions by the employees paid for the memorial, and the dedication exercise.
    Click for full article
  4. Article commemorating the 100th anniversary of the death of Samuel Spencer.
    • “Remembering Samuel Spencer First President of the Southern Railway” by Dick Hillman, in The Railway & Locomotive Historical Society Newsletter, fall 2006. Click here to read the full article (Article begins on page 10)
  5. Article in the Art Inventories Catalog - Smithsonian American Art Museum

Credit goes to Norfolk Southern Company for generously allowing the use of archived materials and to Richard Maccombie for his photographic images.