A monument was dedicated to Mr. Grant in 1910. Below is an address given at its unveiling.
An Address Delivered by Joseph C. Logan at the Unveiling of a Memorial to L.P. Grant at Atlanta, Geogia, June 3, 1910.
(from the Virginia Military Institute Archives, Lexington, VA. 24450)
Mr. Mayor, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I voice the deepest appreciation on the part of the descendants of Colonel Grant that his home city should do him this great honor. We certainly do not claim, nor do we deserve any credit for his service. Those of you, if any there are here, who knew him and labored with him in the building of his and your own fortunes and the fortunes of Atlanta, had much to do, as is true always of friends and acquaintances, with making him kindly and generous and upright. We are all more or less what our friends expect us to be. You, therefore, share a responsibility for such good works as he did, while we do not. Feeling thus, I may with all propriety say that this recognition was due his memory, and is a timely expression of the gratitude of the people with whose fortunes he was so long identified. We thank the city, Mr. Mayor, and the council, Mr. Johnson, and athe Board of Park Commissioners, Mr. Pucket, for putting it thus beautifully in concrete form today.
Colonel Grant had the gift of this park in mind years before he made it. We of his family know that he held deep communioin with nature, and had the love of it in his heart. It is significant that he made all of his grandsons members of the Audobon Society, a national organization for the protection of birds. We know that as he walked through these woods, and saw its springs bubbling over with clear water, and heard the cat-bird and the robin and the blue-jay and the thrush overflowing in song with the pure joy of living, that he foresaw the time when human habitations would dry up the springs, and rob the birds of their nests and trees. We know that he relized that God's world of man and beast and fireld and tree is one unified whole, and should not be torn asunder. So he gave this Park that the city might not be all man-made, and its people might not be left entirely to themselves; but that the children might have a place to play and the weary laden toilers an opportunity for the rest and peace which sometimes can come only under waving trees in the silent woods. And he himself desired no other monument than the pleasure and the happiness which these things might bring to those who were to follow him.
Colonel Grant came of Puritan stock. I recall on one occasion seeing a family tree, of which he was a branch, rooted in one of the original merchants of Boston. He was raised on a farm in Maine, and began his first work in the world as a rodman in an engineering corps.
He came to Atlanta in 1840, as one of the party of engineers engaged in locating the line of the Georgia Railroad. In 1846 he bought the land comprising this park, part of it for $2 an acre, and part for seventy-five cents an acre. At a time when Atlantians looked upon Augusta and Macon as huge metropoli, he predicted the greater growth of this city. I find in an old clipping that he refers to a letter wirtten by himself to his wife, between the years of 1845 adn 1848, in which he expressed the opinion that this place would become a great city. "Everything,"
he said then, "indicated that Atlanta would become a railroad center. The Western and Atlantic Road had been completed, the Georgia Road was in operation, and the old Monroe Road (afterwards the Central), had been bought by General Tyler, and was now being pushed towards Atlanta, and we were looking for the extension of the Alabama Railroad from West Point." He noted that it appeared to be natural that the railroads should terminate here. In his own words, "It looked like a good place to stop and we stopped." This faith in the city never dimmed. His daughter, Mrs. Armstrong, tells me that after the war some of his friends who removed to Baltimore, tried to induce him to go with them, but he replied that such success as he had attained was attained here, and he would remain and share the failure, if it must be, with those who could not go. Any mention of him should include those other pioneers, his companions in the little village, who share with him the veneration of the younger generations now reaping the fruits of their faith and persistence. Judge Ezzard, J. Edgar Thompson, John Brice, Dr. Joseph Thompson, Charles and William Lattimer, John T. Grant and Richard Peters were among them. Sydney Root came a little later, but his devotion and labor for this Park include him in any record of its development.
Colonel Grant combined with his mathematical training and experience, a love of simple culture in all its forms. I am told, though I would not prompt a controversy, that he owned the first piano and the first carriage ever brought to Atlanta. A man of wealth, he never became subservient to it and we honor traditions of his refusals to entertain opportunities to increase his fortune by enterprises which did not square with his ideals. He was a great reader of Dickens, and one of the founders of the Young Men's Library Association. He was among the first and foremost advocates of the public school system of the city, and besides assisting in the building of a public hospital by selling the site on which the Grady now stands at a price admittedly below its value, he gave it a thousand dollars. He was a liberal contributor to his church, and gave to other demonminations freely. He believed in prohibition, and was one of the main financial backers of the campaign in 1887.
Thus, while Colonel Grant is always thought of as a liberal giver, his interests and public record link him with those philanthropists of our own day who, in our very midst, are unselfishly devoting their time and ability in a war upon suffering and crime and disease by methods which were unknown a half century ago. These new methods have come with new knowledge of those things which curse our social life by making men dependent, diseased and criminial, despite themselves.
When we sentenced children to imprisonment with hardened thieves and law-breakers, we made them criminals despite themselves. When we neglected the physical welfare of our school children, we made diseased men and women despite themselves. When today we disgrace the unmeaning first offender with imprisonment, or deprive his family of his earnings, we are making criminals of paupers. When we neglect the acknowledged precautions for the control of tuberculosis, we are making men diseased and dependent despite themselves. The new philanthropists, as did Colonel Grant when he stood for public education and for prohibition, are attacking the causes of poverty and crime. The remedies lie in an enlightened democracy, which is moved, not by charity, but by a sense of mutual helpfulness and social justice.
There are still many people who hold to the theory that every man must take care of himself and the devil must get the hindmost; and they wonder why anybody who is taking care of himself should worry about those intended for the devi.. As you know, and I know, they were never intended for thh devil. The interests of the hindmost, those whom circumstances and undue burdens are depriving of the sweetness of life and the opportunity to enjoy its fullness, were provided for in the laws of human nature, which make it sweet to give and sweet to help. The truth is that service is the object of life, the very essence of success. Though this has been the message of the poets and prophets of all agees, it may be foolishness; though Jesus of Nazareth lived it, and cried it from the mountain tops, it may be foolishness; though only those who live it after Him ever hear the heavenly music resound in their own souls, it may be foolishness! But the mere fact of this monument, and that we have all spoken only of the good that Colonel Grant did, indicates that this can not be so. Is it not always the good which lives while the evil dies? Evil in all its forms, of ugliness, pain, falsehood, selfishness, leads toward death, while goodness, as joy of beauty, truth or virtue, leads towards life, always more life. Thus in tendencies, at least, we have an evidence of eternal life itself. As Swinburn says:
"Unto each man his handiwork, unto each his crown
The just fate gives,
Whoso takes the world's life on him and his own
He, dying so, lives.
Whoso bears the whole heaviness of the wronged
And puts in by;
It is well with him suffering, though he face man's
How should he die?
"Seeing death has no part in him any more, no power
Upon his head;
He has bought his eternity with a little hour,
And is not dead.
On the mountains of memory, by the world's well
In all men's eyes
Where the light of the life of him is on all past things,
Death only dies."