The eagle has landed
A noble golden bird swooped in for a landing and a week of restorative nesting June 4 as the Wyndham Virginia Crossings Hotel & Conference Center lowered its landmark golden eagle from atop the Jefferson Building.
The 3000-pound eagle sculpture was removed by a 160-ton crane, the largest available in the commonwealth, under the supervision of the Glen-Allen based Chesin Construction Company.
After some delicate maneuvering, the bird was brought to earth and laid in a specially-prepared “nest” on the side of the Jefferson Building, where it will be repaired and re-gilded.
Wyndham’s Golden Eagle has perched atop the cupola of the Jefferson Building since the mid-1980’s, when Virginia Crossings was the headquarters of Figgie International. Legend has it that Chairman Harry Figgie won the eagle in a golf match against a fellow CEO at the adjacent Crossings Golf Course.
General Manager Bob Nelson noted at the removal that he has heard speculation that the fellow CEO was August Busch, Jr. – especially since the eagle’s stance bears a distinct resemblance to that of the eagle in the Anheuser-Busch logo.
“It’s well-known that Harry Figgie and August Busch were buddies, and there was an affiliation between Anheuser-Busch and Figgie International,” said Nelson. “That’s where the legend originated. But we haven’t established the actual lineage of the tale . . and we can’t confirm it because [the parties to the alleged bet] are dead.”
The eagle, which stands a full 75 feet above the grounds of the hotel’s Georgian buildings and is visible to I-95 motorists, has wings gilded in 24-carat gold. In recent years, however, the bird’s glittering plumage dulled as it took a beating from the weather and the winds of Hurricane Irene.
After a week of rest in its "nest," the regal bird will be restored to its perch atop the cupola in a June 11 ceremony to include hotel staff and local residents. Representatives of the Central Virginia USO and the Richmond Fisher House have also been invited to attend, said Brown.
"We will make donations to the groups and re-dedicate the eagle in tribute to the folks who put themselves in harm's way," Brown said. "It's only fitting."
The re-installation of the Golden Eagle will cap the recently-completed $3 million Phase I renovation program at the Wyndham Virginia Crossings Hotel & Conference Center, which included an overhaul of lobbies and meeting space and the addition of new gardens, reception areas and recreational facilities. Phase II plans are underway for renovation of the hotel’s 183 guestrooms and suites, to be completed by 2013.
The June 11 re-dedication ceremony, which is open to the public, will begin with the re-installation of the eagle at 10:45 a.m. The Wyndham Virginia Crossings is located at 1000 Virginia Center Pkwy. in Glen Allen. For information, call 727-1400.
Citizen Staff Reports 07/18/2016
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