SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Crews were out early Tuesday morning to remove the Christopher Columbus statue inside the California State Capitol building.
CBS13 learned about the planned removal on Monday after a public CHP permit was filed for a “remodel” of the spot where the statue stands.
Work crews could be seen outside the Capitol by 4 a.m. Tuesday. With the statue weighing four tons of marble and granite, it took the team until around 10 a.m. to lift it onto a waiting truck.
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“Because of the historic nature of the west wing, and also the statue, we are being extra cautious in her removal,” said Geanie Hollingsworth with Assembly facilities management.
The formal removal comes just days after demonstrators tore down the Father Junipero Serra statue in the Capitol garden and vandalized the El Soldado statue also on the grounds.
The Historical Society says the Assembly’s decision to remove the Columbus statue happened behind closed doors and without their input.
“They wouldn’t take a meeting with us,” said Bill George with the Historical Society.
They were frustrated the operation happened without notice and in the middle of the night.
“This is just an outrage what the California legislature is doing to people,” said George.
Scrutiny of historic statues and their place in civic pride intensified following the George Floyd protests. However, the State Capitol’s Columbus statue is the only one Democratic-led legislators announced would be legally removed.
“As an indigenous woman, I find it offensive to honor such atrocious people as Christopher Columbus who committed genocide upon a people,” said Donna Delgadillo, who stopped to watch the statue’s removal.
A group of Republican legislators sent a letter to the Joint Rules Committee requesting the statue be allowed to stay.
The Columbus statue had stood in the Capitol rotunda for more than a century. It is now being moved to an undisclosed location until the descendants of Darius Ogden Mills, who donated the statue back in 1883, can be contacted.