December 1, 2011
The Atlanta Preservation Center in partnership with Piedmont Park and Oglethorpe University will complete the restoration of the Sidney Lanier Monument in February 2012. This monument has been a part of Atlanta’s premier park since 1914 and is meant to serve as a reminder of Georgia’s celebrated poet and musician Sidney Lanier.
Lanier was born in Macon, Georgia in 1842. He graduated from Oglethorpe University in 1860. He served in the Civil War where he contracted tuberculosis which eventually caused his death at age 39. In addition to his contributions as poet, critic and musician, he taught and practiced law. He is credited by his alma mater for bridging Southern romantic literature and 20th-century realism.
The Sidney Lanier Monument was given to Piedmont Park by Mrs. Livingston Mims in 1914. Mid-century, pinching the bust of Lanier from the monument became a regular prank of the college students of Atlanta. After many adventures the bust was taken to Oglethorpe University for safe keeping.
After two years of work, spearheaded by the Atlanta Preservation Center, a copy of the original bust has been made and will be installed in the monuments niche, restoring the monument to its original configuration.
The celebration of the restoration of this monument will include three events.
• An invitation-only black tie cocktail and dinner party will lead the weekend’s events on Thursday, February 2, 2012. To be held at the Piedmont Driving Club, this evening will include a petite performance of Lanier’s music and his poetry.
• Candice Keach, flautist, and Marty Willet, actor/educator, will present a recital of the music and poetry of Sidney Lanier preceded by commentary of Paul Hudson, historian and Oglethorpe alum. Coinciding with Lanier’s 170th birthday, the recital will take place at Oglethorpe University’s Lupton Hall on Friday, February 3, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets for this recital are $15 and can be purchased at the door or in advance.
• Richard Guy Wilson noted architectural historian and Commonwealth Professor in Architectural History at the University of Virginia will give a lecture on Saturday, February 4, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. at Magnolia Hall in Piedmont Park. He will discuss the work of Carrère & Hastings (designers of the Lanier Monument), Edward Clark Potter (sculptor of the bust), and Lanier. The lecture will connect these elements giving a picture of the American Renaissance. Tickets for this lecture are $10 and can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling 404-688-3353 ext. 11.
• The public unveiling of the restored monument will be held Saturday, February 4, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. The monument is located on the eastern side of the Active Oval. The unveiling will be officiated by Boyd Coons, Executive Director of the Atlanta Preservation Center and will include performance of Lanier’s Blackbirds on the flute by Candice Keach, a reading of Lanier’s Song of the Chattahoochee and The Centennial Meditation of Columbia by the Poet Lauriat of Georgia, David Bottoms.