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The Ben Epps statue was erected in 2011 to commemorate and honor the achievements of Georgia's first aviator, Ben Epps. He was born an Oconee County native and opened his first shop in Athens. The statue is life-sized and can be found easily at the intersection of East Washington Street and North Lumpkin Street. It sits right across the street from Ben Epps' first shop, which is no longer operational.


Ben Epps is known by many to be Georgia's first aviator. He is credited with the first known flight to take place in Georgia. Epps was an Oconee County native where he opened his first shop to begin experimenting with planes after he dropped out of college. Although not discussed often, Epps was one of the pioneers of aviation. He created many different prototypes of planes and constructed these planes through the failed efforts of his previous attempts. He died in 1937 in a plane crash but left behind a legacy that shaped modern aviation.

            To honor this prestigious man, Athens constructed a statue of Ben Epps dedicated to him and his works. A committee who feared Ben Epps legacy would get lost raised roughly fifty-thousand dollars for the project, along with the help of donors.This life-sized statue was built with bronze and was completed in 2011. The design for the statue came from a picture of Ben Epps standing in front of an early plane in the 1920s. It was initially thought that a young Ben Epps would be more interesting for viewers to see but after many sketches, the committee came to the conclusion that an older Epps featured with flight cap and goggles looked the best.

The statue, which sits near the intersection of East Washington Street and North Lumpkin Street, is easily accessible and can be seen from many different angles. It features Ben Epps holding a plane propeller in one hand and the blueprints to one of his plane inventions in the other. At the feet of Ben Epps is information about him and his life as well as descriptions of every plane that he built. The location of the statue was planned out accordingly so that it sits right across from the first shop that Ben Epps opened. There is a crosswalk close for visitors who would also like to see the shop. A historical marker setup in front of the shop that talks about his first flight and the plane he used that was built in this shop. Ben Epps is known by many to be Georgia's first aviator. He is credited with the first known flight to take place in Georgia. Epps was an Oconee County native where he opened his first shop to begin experimenting with planes after he dropped out of college. Although not discussed often, Epps was one of the pioneers of aviation. He created many different prototypes of planes and constructed these planes through the failed efforts of his previous attempts. He died in 1937 of a plane crash but left behind a legacy that shaped modern aviation.

            To honor this prestigious man, Athens constructed a statue of Ben Epps dedicated to him and his works. A committee who feared Ben Epps would get lost in history along with the help of donors raised around fifty-thousand dollars for the project. This life-sized statue was built with bronze and was completed and setup in 2011. The design for the statue came from a picture of Ben Epps standing in front of an early plane in the 1920s. It was initially thought that a young Ben Epps would be more interesting for viewers to see but after many sketches, the committee came to the conclusion that an older Epps featured with flight cap and goggles looked the best. Behind the statue is a smoke tree along with ornamental grasses. The creators of the statue intended this to suggest the clouds that Ben Epps flew through on his many flights. 

The statue, which sits near the intersection of East Washington Street and North Lumpkin Street, is easily accessible and can be seen from many different angles. It features Ben Epps holding a plane propeller in one hand and the blueprints to one of his plane inventions in the other. At the feet of Ben Epps is a plague with information about him and his life as well as descriptions of every plane that he built. The location of the statue was planned out accordingly so that it sits right across from the first shop that Ben Epps opened. There is a crosswalk close by for visitors who would also like to see the shop. A historical marker setup in front of the shop that describes his first flight and the plane he used that was built in this shop. 

Statue honoring Georgia’s first pilot installed at Athens City Hall. OnlineAthens. November 26, 2011. Accessed April 10, 2018. http://www.onlineathens.com/local-news/2011-11-26/statue-honoring-georgias-first-pilot-installed-ath....



The Statue. Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation. . Accessed April 11, 2018. http://www.achfonline.org/docs/The%20Statue%20Story.pdf.