Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
June 12, 2014 4:51 p.m.
Despite threatening skies and a few rain drops a large crowd gathered at the historic train depot on Centre Street in Fernandina Beach at noon on June 12, 2014 for the unveiling of the David Levy Yulee bronze statue. This statue was commissioned by the Amelia Island Fernandina Restoration Foundation as a gift to the city to honor Senator David Levy Yulee (1810-1886), the prime mover behind the Florida Railroad Company and the founding of modern Fernandina. The statue, fully funded by private contributions, represents part of the Foundation’s contribution to the restoration of the historic train depot, which is being funded in major part by the Amelia Island Tourist Development Council and the City of Fernandina Beach. That project is well underway today.
There is no other existing statue honoring Yulee, the man who has been called both the Father of Florida Statehood and the Father of Florida Railroads. Susan Luery, the sculptor of the life sized statue, was on hand for the unveiling.
The audience heard remarks from Adam Kaufman, Restoration Foundation president; Ed Boner, Fernandina Beach Mayor; Nassau County Commissioner (District 1) and Tourist Development Council Chair Danny Leeper; and State Senator Aaron Bean. United States Senator Bill Nelson who could not attend sent a letter which was read by Rachael Dollar of his Jacksonville office. And making a special appearance was Senator Yulee, as portrayed by Amelia Island Museum of History first person enactor Harry Green.
Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.