Columbus statue removed from Tower Grove Park in south St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The statue of Christopher Columbus has been removed from Tower Grove Park after a growing call to remove public statues of historical figures with ties to slavery. The statue had stood in Tower Grove Park for 140 years.

Workers lifted the statue with a crane and placed it on a flatbed truck. Some reliefs featuring explorers like Pierre Laclède are still on the sides of the monument’s pedestal.

A Tower Grove Park official earlier would not tell us where the statue is going. 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 circulated to remove the statue after other Columbus statues had 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.

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