Public Sculpture in Grand Rapids

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William Alden Smith

Artist: Robert Eccleston
Medium: Bronze
Provenance: Donated by the family of Peter Secchia. Unveiled July 26, 2017. This one of a series of 25 bronze sculptures donated to the city by the Community Legends Project funded and endowed by Peter Secchia
Location: West side of DeVos Place Convention Center, along the river.

A plaque at the base of the statue reads:

"William Alden Smith was a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from the state of Michigan. Born in Dowagiac, Michigan, Smith moved with his parents to Grand Rapids in 1872, where he attended school, was a newsboy and messenger boy. Smith eventually went on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1895-1907 and the U.S. Senate from 1907-1919. Smith was also on the short list of 1916 Republican presidential candidates.

In the U.S. House, he chaired a committee on Pacific Railroads and was a leading advocate for universal safety standards on railroads. In the U.S. Senate he famously chaird a Senate committee on the sinking of the luxury liner RMS Titanic.

In addition, Smith led the construction of the Grand Rapids, Kalkaska and Southeastern Railroad in Michigan in 1897 and became owner of the Lowell and Hastings Railroad in 1900. He was owner and publisher of the Grand Rapids Herald in 1906 and chairman of the board of directors of the Goodrich Company, which owned the Graham and Morton Steamship Line, the largest operator of steamboats from Chicago to various Lake Michigan ports."

© 2023 Public Sculpture in Grand Rapids. Catalog database by Index Projects