ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The statue of Christopher Columbus has been removed in Tower Grove Park. This is after a growing call to remove public statues of historical figures with ties to slavery.
Workers appear to be lifting the statue with a crane and placing it on a flatbed truck. Some plaques on the pedestal it was placed on are still there. They feature explorers like Pierre Laclède. It is not yet clear where the statue will be taken to.
An announcement about what will replace the statue has also not yet been made.
Statement from Tower Grove Park:
Tower Grove Park celebrates the diversity of our community every day and serves as the centerpiece of the region’s most vibrant neighborhoods. When a statue of Christopher Columbus was placed in the park 140 years ago, its purpose was to celebrate the contributions of immigrants in this region. But now, for many, it symbolizes a historical disregard for indigenous peoples and cultures and destruction of their communities.In order to ensure a safe, inclusive and pleasant environment for park visitors and team members alike, the Park’s Board of Commissioners has authorized the removal of the Columbus statue to begin the week of June 15. By taking this action, Tower Grove Park reaffirms its commitment to being a place of welcome, and to caring for the people’s park in the best way possible.Tower Grove Park on Facebook
The statue of Christopher Columbus marked the eastern entrance to the park. A board of commissioners has been working on the issue for the past two years. Signs have been posted next to the statue to give park visitors context into the issues surrounding the statue.
Several groups have been calling for the statue to be removed over the past few years. Recently, a petition has been circulating to remove the statue after Columbus statues have been forcibly removed across the United States.
The statue is among several commissioned by Henry Shaw in the late 1800s to highlight the contributions of several St. Louis immigrant groups. But, it also symbolizes something very different for others. The disregard for indigenous people.
Tower Grove Park was established in 1868 and the statue was dedicated in October 1886. It’s one of only seven National Historic Landmark urban parks in the nation.