CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) – Charlottesville’s statues of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson are gone from their public parks.
Police officers, fencing, and other barriers were set up around Market Street Park and Court Square to divert traffic and restrict pedestrian movement Saturday, July 10.
Crews with heavy equipment began moving into place near the Lee statue in Market Street Park shortly before 7 a.m. Straps to move the statue off its pedestal were soon being worked around it. Paul Goodloe McIntire commissioned the statue in 1917, and it was dedicated in 1924. McIntire also commissioned the Jackson statue, which was erected in 1921.
Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker had briefly spoke to the media and the small crowd gathered at the park about the statues coming down.
Cheers could be heard as the Lee statue was lifted off its pedestal shortly after 8 a.m. Crews then secured it on a large flatbed, and drove away from the park a half hour later.
Crews began repeating the process for the Jackson statue in Court Square Park a little after 9 a.m. People again cheered as it was separated from its pedestal a few minutes before 10 a.m. The statue was slowly and carefully driven away from the park around 10:45 a.m.
Charlottesville says both statues will be secured on city property, but did not say where. The statues’ pedestals will be removed at a later date.
“During the past month, the city has solicited for expressions of interest from any museum, historical society, government or military battlefield interested in acquiring the statues,” the city stated in a press release Friday, July 9. “The Charlottesville City Manager has received 10 responses thus far – six out of state and four in-state – that are all under review. The city remains open to additional expressions of interest.”
City Council approved setting aside $1 million for the relocate and or covering of these two statues, as well as the statue of Lewis & Clark and Sacajawea.
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