Monuments of Strength: Paul Anderson


Memorialisation is a fascinating part of the human condition. From war to illness, cultures around the world have repeatedly sought to pay tribute to the good and bad of the human condition. Until recently, I wrongly believed that strength monuments were few and far between.

Thankfully a quick google search put my ignorance to rest and resulted in what I hope will be a series of instalments on physical culture monuments.

Today’s post highlight’s the Paul Anderson Memorial Park, a small luscious park in Toccoa Georgia. As many readers will know, Anderson was once heralded as the World’s strongest man. Adept at both Olympic Weightlifting and general weight training, Anderson set a series of world weightlifting records throughout the course of his illustrious career. He was respected throughout the bodybuilding and physical culture communities for his immense strength and the sporting community at large for his Gold Medal win at the 1956 Olympics.

While Anderson’s athletic career was worthy of memorialisation in its own right, it was undoubtedly his philanthropic work which prompted a park in his honour. A devout Christian, Paul devoted numerous hours to the troubled youth of his hometown Toccoa. In 1961 Paul and his wife Glenda founded the Paul Anderson Youth Home. The home acted as a place for Georgia’s troubled youth to rebuild their lives.

Cognisant of his duties as a charitable partner, Paul would conduct hundreds of shows each year to raise awareness for the home, thereby solidifying his place in the hearts of his fellow statesmen.

While Paul’s life was cut short by a chronic congenital kidney disease at the age of 61, his foundation and this wonderful little park have gone some way to preserving his memory.

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