MIDDLETOWN, CT (WFSB) - Two Connecticut cities have made the decision to temporarily remove their respective statues of Christopher Columbus.

Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim says the decision was made after he received a multitude of messages from residents saying that after seeing other states take down their statues of Christopher Columbus, they would like the city of Middletown to do the same with their statue.

"Of course, there are many in Middletown who want it to stay up, too. To the hundreds of people who were involved in the creation and placement of the statue, it has less to do with the historical figure of Columbus and more to do with their own families’ history in Middletown. I spoke to a number of people on both sides of the issue yesterday," Florsheim explained.

The statue would have to be moved regardless since maintenance work needs to be performed at Harbor Park, which is where the statue stood, this July.

One proposal is to move the statue to "a privately-owned site with heritage significance to the Italian-American community".

For the time being, the statue will be stored at the city's public works storage yard.

Mayor Florsheim stated that he will have ongoing talks with members of the community about what the next steps should be regarding the statue.

Also on Sunday, the city of New London took down their statue around 5:00 Sunday morning.

"I apologize to the press and everyone else who wanted advance notice and to make an event of the removal but under the circumstances I thought it was best to do it quietly and quickly without attracting attention," Mayor Michael Passero said.

The New London City Council will hold a special meeting Tuesday evening to discuss the issue and perhaps vote on the future of the statue.

Mayor Passero added that the Christopher Columbus statue will remain in storage until a decision is made.

"It had just become a lightning rod for civil discontent and that there was a real and present danger that the artifact would continue to be vandalized," Mayor Passero said. 

This is not the first time the Christopher Columbus statues in both Middletown and New London have come under scrutiny.

Back in 2017, the Christopher Columbus in Middletown statue was defaced with red paint just before Columbus Day, and just two weeks ago, protestors marked the Christopher Columbus statue with red spray paint.

A petition was started in Southington to have the Christopher Columbus statue removed. 

The petition says, "Christopher Columbus was a cruel man who committed countless crimes against indigenous peoples. He enslaved the native people of the West Indies and was a brutal ruler."

Copyright 2020 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.



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(10) comments


I think we really need to remember our history, people. That is why I am going to petition our government to have a statue of General Charles Cornwallis put up somewhere in the Boston area. We can put one up of John Burgoyne in the Hartford area, too. Those men are part of our history.


What does it say about you that you are whining this? Columbus was a murderer, rapist and slave trader. Either you are ignorant of this history or you condone this behavior. Not a tough choice for people who may pretend to be Christians.


What's next? We're are going to eliminate Columbus Day too?


Yup. Try Indigenous Peoples' Day


This is SO ridiculous!....For years, no issue...and NOW it is?! You can't just erase history because future events occur that history may have spawned - our history is what it is - display it...cause we all can reference it and tell everyone what we did to change it and improve upon it. Taking away statues is just plain stupid. It's high-time our present day people started being adults about this


I agree! I am so sick and tired of people trying to deny history. A small percentage of people shouting about everything on earth being offensive to them are ruling the majority. Well, I am offended by the people who want everything torn down that they don't like!


Are you this mad at Germany for not putting up statues of Himmler or the leader of Germany? They are "part of the history" of Germany. Heck, even Robert E. Lee didn't want to be honored for his part in the Civil War.


The history of Columbus WAS erased for years. I grew up not knowing he was a rapist and murderer and an all around A hole. It wasn't until I actually read up on what he actually did. The man was a pig and deserves no recognition for something that wasn't an accomplishment. He wanted to find a different route to India and found the West Indies in the Caribbean. Half a world of failure.


Ya know - after reading up on him I'm starting to rethink my position as well (I'm wondering, though, were 99% of men just like him at that point in time???). Maybe we shouldn't have statues of ANY person. No one really deserves any special honor as we all do wicked things - some worse than others.


Statues belong in museums.

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