A crowd of several hundred gathered on the east side of the Bridge of Lions around 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 2 at Davis Park, a small public green space along Anastasia Boulevard in St. Augustine.
Two new lion sculptures, similar to the two 85-plus year old lions on the west side of the bridge, were unveiled â€” a gift to the City of St. Augustine fromÂ Davis Shores residents Wolfgang and Miki Schau.
The lions are named Pax (peace) and Peli (happiness), and were designed to be the siblings of the two original lions, Firm and Faithful. They are not exact replicas of the first two.
The gift represents the single largest private donation to the City of St. Augustine for its 450th Commemoration. The city in the public sector has contributed projects to the 450th including bayfront improvements of the seawall, the breakwater and face dock at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina to accommodate tall ships, the renovation of Hypolita, Spanish and Treasury Streets as pedestrian corridors, and the redesign of Aviles Street in the brand of the Nationâ€™s Oldest Street.
At a time when St. Augustine is celebrating itself as the Nationâ€™s Oldest City and its unbroken history, the lions will become visual reminders of the 450th Commemoration and monuments to the cityâ€™s enduring spirit and the importance of community for generations to come.
â€œThe 450th Commemoration has always been about the community coming together and celebrating who we are in different ways, large and small,â€ said City Manager John Regan.
â€œWolfgang and Miki have contributed an iconic monument to St. Augustine that will become a lasting legacy for centuries.â€
Former St. Augustine Mayor and medical doctor, Dr. Andrew Anderson, commissioned Italian sculptor F. Romanelli to create the original marble lions in 1927, which Anderson donated to the city. Romanelli sculpted the lions based on a pair of centuries-old statues at the Loggia del Lanzi in Florence. The Schauâ€™s had their lion statues made in similar design and style.