Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
June 12, 2014 4:51 p.m.

Members of the public arrived early to get a good seat for the Yulee statue unveiling.
Members of the public arrived early to get a good seat for the Yulee statue unveiling.

 

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.

Rachael Dollar reads congratulatory remarks from US Senator Bill Nelson.
Rachael Dollar reads congratulatory remarks from US Senator Bill Nelson.

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.

Senator David Levy Yulee (Harry Green) awaits his turn to address the audience.
Senator David Levy Yulee (Harry Green) awaits his turn to address the audience.

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.

DSCN2805Following the remarks, the Yulee statue was unveiled, providing immediate photo opportunities for ceremony participants and the public.

Fernandina Beach Mayor Ed Boner, Nassau County Commissioner Danny Leeper and State Senator Aaron Bean join sculptor Susan Luery in unveiling the statue.
Fernandina Beach Mayor Ed Boner, Nassau County Commissioner Danny Leeper and State Senator Aaron Bean join sculptor Susan Luery in unveiling the statue.
Seated:  Sculptor Susan Luery flanked by TWO senator Yulees with Mayor Boner, Restoration Foundation President Adam Kaufman, County Commissioner Danny Leeper and State Senator Aaron Bean looking on.
Seated: Sculptor Susan Luery flanked by TWO senator Yulees with Mayor Boner, Restoration Foundation President Adam Kaufman, County Commissioner Danny Leeper and State Senator Aaron Bean looking on.
Mary Agnes White, an original member of the Restoration Foundation, and local attorney Arthur I. "Buddy" Jacobs, the first Executive Secretary of the Foundation, share a moment with Senator Yulee.
Mary Agnes White, an original member of the Restoration Foundation, and local attorney Arthur I. “Buddy” Jacobs, the first Executive Secretary of the Foundation, share a moment with Senator Yulee.

Suanne ThammEditor’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.

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Randy McGee
Randy McGee (@guest_19756)
8 years ago

The statue will be removed once people read about the Yulee Sugar Mill in Cedar Key.

Same reason public schools change their name from Confederate Generals and the Confederate flag has all but outlawed..

History is now only history if it doesn’t offend a section of society.

Soon we will see the protest, request and removal of the statue by those who care not to learn from history, but want to erase it.

Bruno Preuss
Bruno Preuss (@guest_19764)
8 years ago

Damned slave owners. Some folks would like to rewrite history and delete all American slave owners from history books; something akin to what the Soviets did to anyone who displeased their leadership. Thus, there goes George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, etc. And don’t forget good old Jackson and the trail of tears.
Way to go, folks.

tony crawford
tony crawford (@guest_19766)
8 years ago

If all we have to worry about is a statue being removed, that would be a wonderful thing for the city. The statue will never be removed or should it. To be honest we can’t get the City to agree about improvements that need to be built, no less to agree about taking an improvement down that is already built.
Yulee might have been a really bad person, and he may have made his fortune on the backs of slaves. If we are to use that as a criteria for statues, we would than have to remove every statue of George Washington as he also was a slave owner his whole life as were many of our founding fathers. Their are many from this time period that made their fortunes due to slavery. Was is right? No!! Those were the times and we need to understand and respect that. The statue will only add to the ambiance of our downtown history and will be another great Kodak moment for those who visit. Lets put this nonsense aside and get on with worrying about where the City is going and what we need to get done, be it the waterfront, the post office, beach re nourishment, boosting the economy, impact fees figuring out if there is a parking problem, downtown development, getting the law suits settled, and lets not forget the golf coarse, the marina and the upcoming elections. Worrying about a statue that has already been approved, built and installed—-really!

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