The beloved eagles of Toomers Corner have overlooked the oaks for more than 50 years and after a much needed sprucing up, they're finally home.
The weather looks great for A-Day in Auburn this Saturday and fans will see the eagles back at Toomers Corner, landing after months of repairs. It took more than four hours to put the historic statues back on their pedestals at the main gates.
"It's been amazing to me how in the last three or four months how many calls we get in the communications office. People realized something was missing at Toomers Corner, it's not just the leaves on the trees," Auburn University representative Mike Clardy said.
That something missing was the 300 pound marble bald eagle statues, the school's mascot. The iconic pair was given to Auburn in the 1960s by alumnus William C. Sugg. Over the years, the statues withstood some wear and tear, with a missing beak on one, a damaged wing on the other, and each bird's breast being spray painted red by vandals. The pair was sent off to Washington for repairs.
Master Stone Mason Anthony Miller helped get the statues back in shape. He says the task was difficult due to the sculptures being made out of marble, "These are quite delicate, quite fragile. So it was a delicate operation."
The delicate operation took about five months and over 200 hours of meticulous work.
"They had lost some of their definition and the little crisp edges were worn with weather so they went back and re-carved on it and he just told me they spent about twenty hours re-carving around the eyes and some of the feather features," Founder of Lathan Company Incorporated, Jerry Lathan said.
Lathan said it wasn't about money, but a labor of love.
The project cost the university $20,000. A representative says it's a small price to pay to preserve this fan favorite spot.
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