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Columbus Statue Restoration Faces Obstacles

Curators reported that the statue of Christopher Columbus from the namesake park can be repaired, but cannot be fully restored to its original state. The news was released at a meeting of the Boston Arts Commission (BAC) on September 8th. The statue’s head was severed from the neck and would leave visible marks upon repair, according to the restoration experts. The curators further said the statue would continue to be vulnerable to further vandalism and the next time could cause greater damage.

Headless statue in Christopher Columbus Park with trellis leading to downtown Boston. (NEWF photo, June 2020)

On June 10th, the Christopher Columbus statue was beheaded, adding to its existing history of vandalism throughout the years. The rest of the body was subsequently removed by the City and placed in storage to await further public discussion about its future.

Red paint on Columbus Statue – 2015 (Stephen Passacantilli)

This is the second meeting where presentations at the Boston Arts Commission have implied that a return of the statue to Christopher Columbus Park is increasingly uncertain. Last month, BAC hosted a review entitled, Confronting Colonial Myths in Boston’s Public Space. Commissioners are following a process similar to that used for the Emancipation Group, which resulted in a unanimous vote to remove that work from Park Square.

In testimony at the August 2020 meeting, some Italian-American groups spoke in support of the statue’s restoration while others favored non-Columbus alternatives to represent Italian heritage. Proponents for the statue’s permanent removal pointed to Columbus as a symbol of white supremacy and urged that the voices of the indigenous people be elevated in the public review process.

BAC said the name of the park falls under the Boston Parks Department and they would not be taking up that issue.

18 Replies to “Columbus Statue Restoration Faces Obstacles

  1. There real too many people with little or nothing to do, but destroy and vandalize. Not a productive bone in their body. I would like to see a return the WPA. I know that FDR was a right-wing nut, but his program to get people to work made the unproductive, productive. I figure working people don’t have the time to ponder this useless nonsense.

  2. The Columbus Statue should be restored and returned to Cloumbus Park immediately. Not doing so rewards vandalism and encourages more acts of lawlessness. BAC should not be in the business of replacing historical and cultural monuments. If they want to appease oppressed or underrepresented groups, then go find a place to errect a memorial that honors them and doesn’t disrespect the memory of Italian Americans who contibuted so much to our neighborhood and City.

  3. Don’t feed us this line of garbage. It’s not going back up because Marty Walsh won’t stand up to BLM. This statue could be recast in iron and it’s never going back up.
    So stop with the lies, and just say you want to pander to special interest groups.

    1. let’s not let this happen… we can at least put a good effort together… we need more effort than moaning on these pages. I suggest we form a group and create a plan to make our case.

  4. Such a shame that it will likely not be brought back at all. JC is right. By the way: HAVE THE VANDALS BEEN CAUGHT YET?!?

    1. BostonGal, their were 12 shootings over the weekend in Boston.(The weekend).Do you really expect that their is going to be a manhunt for the person or persons who vandalized a statue? About 2 weeks ago Plymouth Rock was vandalized by someone pouring paint over it and its not the first time and it won’t be the last, the CC statue was vandalized the same way with red paint a couple of years ago. I have zero respect for anyone who vandalizes anything , but outside of having someone guarding the statue 24/7 it will happen again. Sadly Its the world we live in today.

  5. I not only believe the statue should go back, but I believe there should be hidden cameras directly on the statue, and the fine for the destruction of anyone’s property should be astronomical, and if they can’t afford the fine, 1 mandatory year of street cleaning & whatever, as punishment & see it thru. Maybe pass a law as to anyone destroying property a 10 year jail sentence automatically. It sounds like too big of a fine for what they consider somewhat of a miner offense, but it is definitely worth a Try. When you hit people in the pocket or give them a jail sentence, I think we will see some changes, if they really
    Enforce it.

      1. Joan , I hear you that given people who commit crimes a slap in the wrist is counterproductive. I also agree with you about cameras , in fact cameras should be everywhere in the NE . Over the years there have been a number of sexual assaults on woman in the neighborhood without one person ever being brought to justice.Unfortunately their are people that want to coddle criminals and hand them a get out of jail free card and just let them walk the streets. The person who is most responsible for the kid glove treatment to criminals is the Suffolk County DA Rachel Rollins.

        1. When I hear our own city electeds talk of defunding police in Boston because of police 1000 miles away, then we can only expect less punishment and more crime. It’s gotten much worse in cities where elected officials have ordered their police to stand down. The talk of defunding police isn’t a solution, it’s the cause of most of these problems. What you have is something that was voted in.

          1. T, your right the police are now battling crime with one hand tied behind their backs. Anyone who suggests (actually ,demands is a better description) defunding the police is out of their minds. When you let the inmates run the prison there’s no going back. Yesterday was the anniversary of 9/11 when cops and firefighters ran INTO the buildings as everyone was running out.

            1. I watched Patriot’s Day last night.
              Seems Chris isn’t popular these days since they are pinning on him the near removal of the American natives, which happened long after he was gone from the scene. But the revisionists claimed he planned the whole thing. Just an explorer looking for people to hunt. Looks like there are a lot of people with too much spare time and too little to do, so they care about what someone else does. It’s the “them” in society that cause these people to be losers. My momma didn’t bring up a loser I hear. My reply is, maybe she did and maybe you were losing before Trump became president (a real likely guess). To be a true loser, takes more than 4 years; it’s a life long obsession. I mean, there isn’t 1% as much as there are winners and losers. People like ourselves, can take care of themselves and always will. But losers have never been able to take care of themselves and have to depend on others; they always will. I feel that we should take care of the unfortunate, but the shear majority of able-bodied losers that we have rioting and doing nothing that is constructive is a problem. Blaming Christopher Columbus for all your personal problems isn’t constructive and won’t make any loser a winner. It’s just one more obsession for the useless element in society to perform something truly meaningless.

  6. I was not able to attend the meeting this week (I was at the first one). The first one felt like the forces that want to remove the statue are more “organized” and/or perhaps, more vocal than the group that wants the statue returned. I think that if people want the statue back, they ought to have a more unified message and/or be lobbying just as hard. Does anyone know of any group trying to organize their thoughts around this matter?

    1. This is great suggestion. I believe the forces that are organized against the statue are external to the North End and are promoted by national political action committees. There are no groups indigenous to the North End, although, if you observe the names on the statue there was a collective North End group who built the statue. First thoughts, there is a Friends of the CCP. I believe their focus is on sanitation and ascetics. There are Italian heritage organizations that may have an interest.

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