World Athletes Monument
|World Athletes Monument|
|Alternative names||Prince Charles Monument
Prince of Wales Monument
|Location||Pershing Point (in Midtown
Peachtree Street at West Peachtree Street
The World Athletes Monument, more commonly known as the Prince Charles Monument or Prince of Wales Monument, is a monument located in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. The monument, dedicated to the 1996 Summer Olympics, is a gift from HRH the Prince of Wales in honor of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. The monument is located on Peachtree Street, at Pershing Point, in Midtown Atlanta. The monument has had an astounding impact on the surrounding underutilized land, and has become a regional cultural landmark and place to celebrate national and international events.
The statue is carved in Indiana limestone topped by bronze statues, and stands 55 feet tall. It has a conical base circled by five stone bands which have two aedicules on the Peachtree Street axis, within which are plaques honoring the patrons who built the building. Above the base is a tholos circled by five Doric columns, representing the five continents, which support five bronze Atlases who together carry a globe. A cauldron is within the tholos and emits a fire evoking the Olympic torch. Taking advantage of the avenue being straight for a number of blocks, which is unusual in Atlanta, the monument was intentionally aligned with the tower of the 19th century Gothic Peachtree Christian Church a few blocks away, creating a visionary ensemble of urban planning. 
The Prince of Wales's Institute of Architecture, with the help of its first American trustee Rodney Mims Cook, Jr., held an international competition for the design of the monument. The competition was won by Anton Glikin, a St. Petersburg, Russia architect and Institute student. Martin Dawe of Atlanta, Georgia and Dick Reid of York, England were chosen to create the Atlas bronzes. Cook supervised and shepherded the project to completion with the assistance of Architect of Record Peter Polites. The stone was carved by Jonathan Kreig and constructed by van Winkle Company. HRH requested that one third of the funds for the project be raised in the United States. Prince Charles wanted a location that needed the 55-foot monument, so the prime intersection of Atlanta's main street, Peachtree Street, with West Peachtree Street in Midtown was chosen. The intersection, known as Pershing Point, had been the location of iconic Beaux-Arts office buildings that had been razed in the late 1980s to facilitate traffic flow. The land was donated by the Georgia Department of Transportation by Wayne Shackelford through the efforts of Mayor Sam Massell. With the lead donation from the Randall family of Atlanta, construction began. The monument was dedicated during the Centennial Olympic Games by Lord Morris of Castle Morris representing Queen Elizabeth II.
On August 31, 1997 Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in an automobile accident in Paris. All around the world people gathered to mourn her death. During this time, CNN estimated over 20,000 people were drawn to the World Athletes Monument to grieve and pay their respects. Traffic was rerouted away from the streets around the monument because of the thousands of people sleeping in the street and around the plaza. Mementos and flowers were placed around the memorial, and much like what was happening at British Royal palaces, grew to such a scale as to envelope the base of the monument. A monumental television screen broadcasted the funeral live from England. Since Princess Diana’s death the monument has also come to be known as both the Prince’s Olympics Monument and the Princess Diana Monument. The Atlanta City Council dedicated the space as the Prince of Wales’s Monument at Princess Diana Square.
On June 5, 2004, President Ronald Reagan died and once again thousands of people congregated around the World Athletes Monument to grieve. The monument was enshrouded with flags, candles, flowers and other mementos. It has also become a gathering place for sports victories and other civic uses the citizens of Atlanta choose to celebrate.
Both the Princess Diana and President Reagan events were covered live by national and local media outlets. The New Yorker Magazine pronounced the World Athletes Monument to be a unique work of art which the citizens of Atlanta have embraced unlike any other in their history. 
The Prince’s gift has generated as of 2011 over $75 million in new construction within a one-block radius and now forms a ceremonial gateway into Midtown, Atlanta’s principal cultural district.
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