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Ask the Times: Poultry statue went up in 1977
The top of the poultry monument is topped with a statue of a life-sized chicken. - photo by Tom Reed | The Times

If you’ve been wondering about something in your community, Ask The Times is your place to get answers. The following questions were submitted by readers and answered through the efforts of our news staff.

Who designed the Poultry Park monument?

Poultry Park, at the corner of West Academy Street and Jesse Jewell Parkway in Gainesville, was a project begun by poultry industry leaders in the community and dedicated in 1977.

Nathaniel Ashe, a member of the Georgia Poultry Federation, said the idea was proposed during a meeting of that body, noting that the city of Gainesville should have something commemorating its status as the “poultry capital of the world.” Ashe was elected chairman of the committee and others were appointed to help him, he said.

The committee settled on the plot of land and then approached city leaders.

“That spot was just grown up in weeds and such. I thought that’d be the perfect place,” Ashe said, noting its visibility.

Gainesville City Councilman Bob Hamrick said the land was the remnants of road construction in the area as Queen City Parkway was built coming into the city.

The federation agreed to fund the project and Gainesville signed off.

Ashe’s committee approached Georgia Marble Co. in Tate to design and construct the monument, which would feature a rooster statue at the top. After considering other options, the members settled on a lifelike rooster.

Committee member Homer Wilson told Ashe he had bought his wife a ceramic rooster while in Europe.

“And I said, ‘Well, let’s copy it,’” Ashe said. “So he brought it to me, and I called a foundry in Cincinnati and flew his wife’s rooster up there. And they made a copy of it and bronzed it and all that, which was just what we wanted.”

Abit Massey, also a member of the federation, noted that sculptor Abe Davidson, who was director of the art department at Brenau University, also was involved in the project.

“It was a good team effort ...” Massey said.

Ashe said the statue is bigger than it appears from the ground, probably about 30 inches tall.

“We’re very proud of the fact that we have a poultry monument in the poultry park in the poultry capital of the world,” Massey said.

Plaques line the monument noting the history of poultry in the city.

“The nucleus of this agribusiness explosion was located a few hundred feet to the east of this spot, where literally in the wake of Gainesville’s terrible 1936 tornado, one pioneer poultry man began to draw together all aspects of the poultry production cycle into one vertically integrated operation to do for the poultry industry what Henry Ford had done for automobile manufacturers.”

That person was Jesse Jewell.

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