HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Under the cover of darkness in the hours before dawn, crews took down Hartford’s Christopher Columbus statue, which stood for nearly 100 years.
Hartford’s statue came down less than a week after crews removed the Christopher Columbus statue from New Haven’s Wooster Square. There, it was a much different scene as Italian Americans went up against supporters in favor of removing the statue and tensions escalated.
On Monday, the Green in Hartford was only full of crew members working to take the statue down. They got to the Columbus Green in Hartford around 3:30 in the morning. No groups gathered to protest the removal but News 8 talked with one woman who stopped to watch.
“It’s historic,” said Annettt Landry.
The statue was put up in 1926 as a gift of local Italian Americans. Now, 94 years later it was taken down amidst a nationwide focus on other buildings and statues named after Christopher Columbus. The decision came two weeks earlier.
“Given the current climate, we thought it was best to move it at this point,” said Michael Looney, Hartford Director of Public Works.
Crews were on the Columbus Green for hours working to remove the 2,000 pound statue from its base.
That Christopher Columbus statue was loaded on the bed of the truck. It’ll be taken to a storage facility and from there well it could either go to a museum or a private entity could take it over.
“I sincerely hope that a new statue will be erected. One that reflects the goals and desires of all the people in Hartford, and in Connecticut, and in our country,” said Landry.
As the statue is driven away, Mayor Luke Bronin has made it clear he wants to make sure the city can find another way to honor the history and heritage of Italian Americans in Hartford.
Now all that’s left there on the Columbus Green is the base where you can see the word Columbus still on it. The city says they plan to have a bronze plaque put over that until they decide what will be best for the community and the city.
Columbus was once portrayed as a noble explorer, but part of that history that’s coming to light more and more in recent months is his destroying and enslaving of indigenous people. That new information is what’s caused the defacing and removal of the statues.