Posted on February 2, 2022

Richmond Starts Taking Down Confederate Statues’ Pedestals, Too

Gregory S. Schneider, Washington Post, February 1, 2022

The stone pedestals left behind when this city removed its statues glorifying the Confederacy are finally beginning to come down, too, heading into storage after meticulous documentation.

It’s no small task. The City Council has agreed to spend more than $1.5 million to haul away thousands of pounds of ornamental granite over the next few weeks. All of it will be preserved and put under the purview of Richmond’s Black History Museum, which will work with the Valentine museum to find new uses for the materials.

Work began Tuesday on dismantling the stone base that once held a statue of maritime hero Matthew Fontaine Maury, who had a global reputation as the “Pathfinder of the Seas” but chucked his U.S. Navy commission to join the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Workers from Team Henry, the Black-owned contractor that has overseen the job of removing Richmond’s Confederate monuments, lifted the 8,000-pound capstone and hoisted it onto a flatbed truck. Carvings of fish, bats and birds decorated the gray granite of the pedestal. The statue was put in place in 1929 as the last of the series of Confederate memorials on Richmond’s grand Monument Avenue.

Work will then move several blocks east on Monument to the pedestal that once supported a figure of Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, said Jeannie Welliver, of Richmond’s special capital projects office. Still to go: pedestals from statues honoring Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and Confederate soldiers and sailors, as well as the stone base of a Confederate cannon.

One job promises to be trickier than the others: The statue of Confederate Gen. A.P. Hill still stands in the middle of a busy intersection because his remains are buried beneath it — standing up, supposedly. {snip}

The city will landscape many of the pedestal sites until community efforts, led by the museums, come up with a long-term plan for what to do with the properties. The fates of the Hill and Jackson sites, however, are already determined: The two intersections where they have stood like roadblocks will simply be paved over, to the relief of motorists and traffic cops alike.