News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Crews Remove Statue Of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee From Oak Lawn Park

Christopher Connelly
The statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Lee Park in Oak Lawn in Dallas.

The statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and a young soldier on horseback in Oak Lawn was taken down Thursday. A crane and crews arrived at Lee Park in the afternoon to remove the statue, after several failed attempts in the past week.

Work began around 4 p.m., and the statue was lifted from its pedestal about two-and-a-half hours later. An art conservator was there to make sure the statue was properly handled. Dallas police officers provided security during the process. 

Costs of removing the statue were estimated at $400,000 to $450,000. 

City officials planned to take down the 81-year-old statue on Sept. 6 after the Dallas City Council approved its removal. But the Sons of Confederate Veterans won a temporary restraining order; a federal judge threw out the order the next day. Before the restraining order, crews were having trouble removing the statue.

Earlier this week, another crane from Houston hired for the removal collided with a semi-trailer truck, killing that truck's driver.The driver of that crane wasn't seriously hurt; the crane was badly damaged.

Background on the city council meeting, task force

The City Council voted 13-1 to take down the statue. Mayor Mike Rawlings said the urgency to remove the Lee statue was accelerated by the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month. He said it was the right thing to do from a safety standpoint.

Rawlings formed a task force last month to discuss and recommend over the next several weeks what should ultimately be done with the Lee statue, the Confederate War Memorial in Pioneer Park Cemetery downtown and the other streets, parks and places in Dallas that bear names and symbols of the Confederacy.

The task force held its first public meeting on Sept. 7 to discuss the future of the statue and possible renaming of Lee Park. It will hold at least two more public meetings and report findings to the Cultural Affairs Commission by Oct. 12. The commission will then make a final presentation to the City Council on Nov. 1. The council could act on Nov. 8.

The statue of Lee, which is not a designated city landmark, was taken to an undisclosed location for storage as the task force continues to study the issue.

Protest on Saturday

Demonstrators, who call themselves This Is Texas Freedom Force, plan to gather at 11 a.m. Saturday at Lee Park for a rally, The Dallas Morning News reports. Police presence will be heavy.

More coverage

Take a look at our earlier stories related to the Lee statue below.