Pennsylvania Railroad World War II Memorial
|Pennsylvania Railroad World War II Memorial|
|30th Street Station
For the 1,307 PRR employees who died in World War II.
|Unveiled||August 10, 1952|
|Designed by||Walker Hancock, sculptor.|
The Pennsylvania Railroad World War II Memorial is a monument on the main concourse of 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It commemorates the 1,307 Pennsylvania Railroad employees who died in World War II.
The 39-foot (11.9 m), 10-1/2-ton (9525 kg) memorial consists of a heroic bronze sculpture, Angel of the Resurrection, that portrays Michael the Archangel raising up a dead soldier out of the "flames of war," set upon a tall, black-granite base on which the 1,307 names are listed in alphabetical order on four bronze plaques. It was designed by Walker Hancock (1901-1998), the Instructor of Sculpture at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and a U.S. Army veteran of World War II. Hancock had been one of the "Monuments Men" who recovered art looted by the Nazis.
The monument is unusual in its intense verticality, which relates to the 6-story columns behind it. Hancock was given the choice of location, and his inspiration was the concourse's east colonnade. It is his most famous work, and was his personal favorite.
The memorial was dedicated on August 10, 1952. Army General Omar Bradley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke at the ceremony. It was unveiled by Army Sergeant Robert E. Laws, a sheet-metal worker at the Pennsylvania Railroad's Altoona Works and a recipient of the Medal of Honor for his bravery in combat in the Philippines.
The two inscriptions read:
- IN MEMORY OF THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD WHO LAID DOWN THEIR LIVES FOR OUR COUNTRY 1941-1945.
- THAT ALL TRAVELERS HERE MAY REMEMBER THOSE OF THE PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD WHO DID NOT RETURN FROM THE SECOND WORLD WAR.
Hancock left his one-third-scale plaster model of the sculpture to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In November 2010, after years in storage, it was placed on permanent exhibit in the new Art of the Americas Wing.
Main Concourse, 30th Street Station, looking east.
- Hancock, Walker. "The Pennsylvania Railroad Memorial", American Artist 16 (October 1952), pp. 28-31.
- James-Gadzinski, Susan & Cunningham, Mary Mullen. "Walker Hancock, b. 1901", American Sculpture in the Museum of American Art of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA, 1997), pp. 279-85.
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