ST. LOUIS, Mo. – A prominent statue marking the Cherokee Street business district has been removed. The 21-foot-tall statue was dedicated in 1985 as a way for the district to distinguish itself. Now local businesses say that it, “does not appropriately honor the indigenous communities that have called this land home.” Its new home will be at the National Building Arts Center located in Sauget, Illinois.
Artist Bill Christman was commissioned to create the landmark. Originally there were several options, including a trolley, that business owners thought would increase visibility. But, the statue won the vote.
Christman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2007 that he worked closely with a Cherokee Indian group to make sure it was not a stereotype. But, he eventually soured on the design, saying that it is out of proportion and, “Just doesn’t work.”
A business moving into the building at the intersection of Jefferson and Cherokee Street shared this photo of the sidewalk without the statue.
A post to the Facebook page for the Cherokee Street Community Community Improvement District states:
The Cherokee Native statue at the corner of Cherokee Street and South Jefferson Avenue was removed this morning. With a majority vote of community members at the Cherokee Street Community Improvement District public meeting and the support of the artist, the statue will be donated to the National Building Arts Center.
The statue was commissioned in 1985 by the Cherokee Station Business Association to serve as a landmark for the street and its commercial district. However, the statue does not appropriately honor the indigenous communities that have called this land home.
Once uninstalled, the statue was moved to the National Building Arts Center. Based in Sauget, Ill., the National Building Arts Center houses the nation’s largest collection of building artifacts and represents the single largest effort toward understanding the American built environment and the historical process of its creation.Cherokee Street Community Community Improvement District