Statue of William Morrill Wadley

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Statue of William Morrill Wadley

The William Morrill Wadley monument in Macon, Georgia, USA, stands as a tribute to the legacy of William Morrill Wadley, a prominent figure in the Central of Georgia Railroad. Designed by Robert Cushing and unveiled in 1885, it comprises a bronze statue atop a granite pedestal. Erected by a committee of his former employees, it resides close to the city’s Terminal Station. In 1994, it underwent assessment as part of the Save Outdoor Sculpture! initiative, revealing a need for cleaning. In 2015, a family reunion of approximately three dozen of Wadley’s descendants convened at the monument for a group photo. However, the tranquility surrounding the site was disrupted the following year when it was defaced with Satanic graffiti, including a pentagram and the phrase “Hail Satan”.

History

William Morrill Wadley, born in New Hampshire in 1813, ventured to Savannah, Georgia in 1833, where he secured a position with the Central of Georgia Railway. Climbing the ranks swiftly, by 1849 he attained the role of superintendent within the company. His career spanned various executive roles across Southern railroads for decades. During the American Civil War, William Morrill Wadley was appointed as the superintendent of transportation for the Confederate States of America by President Jefferson Davis.

Post-war, he resumed his tenure at the Central of Georgia Railroad, eventually ascending to its presidency, which he held until his passing in 1882. In commemoration of his legacy, employees of the Central of Georgia established a memorial committee to commission a public monument in his honor. In April 1884, sculptor Robert Cushing, based in New York City, was tasked with crafting a statue of William Morrill Wadley . Utilizing a marble bust he previously sculpted based on photographs and a face mask, Cushing modeled the head of the statue. Completed in 1885, the casting was executed by the Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company of New York City. The total cost for the monument amounted to $20,000, with its dedication taking place on June 18, 1885.

Location

Third Street Park, Macon, Georgia, United States

Designer

Fabricator

 Robert Cushing

Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company

Type

Material

 Statue

Bronze
Granite

Length

Width

Height

Weight

10 feet (3.0 m)

10 feet (3.0 m)

20 feet (6.1 m)

2,300 pounds (1,000 kg) (Pedestal only)

Beginning Date

Completion Date

Dedicated date

Dedicated to

April 1884

1885

June 18, 1885

William Morrill Wadley

In 1994, the statue underwent inspection as part of the Save Outdoor Sculpture! project. Back then, it was noted that the monument required cleaning. Fast forward to 2015, where approximately three dozen descendants of William Morrill Wadley gathered at the statue for a family reunion, capturing a group photo in front of it. However, the following year, the monument fell victim to vandalism, adorned with Satanic graffiti such as a pentagram and the phrase “Hail Satan”.

Design

The monument comprises a bronze statue of William Morrill Wadley positioned atop a granite pedestal sourced from Quincy, Massachusetts. Standing at approximately 9 feet 6 inches (2.90 m), the statue portrays Wadley in his attire at the time of his passing, donning a double-breasted frock coat, with his right leg leading. Adjacent to him, to the left, is a round column displaying a map denoting various railroad lines. The pedestal, measuring around 10 feet 6 inches (3.20 m), supports the statue and weighs about 2,300 pounds (1,000 kg). On the bronze base of the statue, the sculptor’s name, Robert Cushing, and the foundry’s marks, Henry-Bonnard Bronze Co., along with the year 1885, are inscribed.

The pedestal features additional inscriptions detailing William Morrill Wadley achievements and contributions to the railroad industry. Erected in 1885 by the employees of the Railroad and Steamship Companies under his leadership, the monument commemorates William Morrill Wadley exemplary life and remarkable leadership as a railway manager. It highlights his transformative role in consolidating various railway systems into one significant network, notably including the Central RR & BKG. Co. The rear of the pedestal lists the companies and systems brought under this unified control. Wadley’s career milestones, from his entry into service in 1841 to his presidency in 1866, are documented on one side, while his birth in 1813 and death in 1882 are noted on the other.

Situated at the intersection of Mulberry Street and Third Street in Macon, Georgia, the monument stands near the city’s Terminal Station within the Third Street Park area. Its location also neighbors the city’s Confederate monument, both landmarks contributing to the historical fabric of the region.

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