Columbus removing Christopher Columbus statue at City Hall

Tribune Content Agency

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther announced Thursday that the Christopher Columbus statue on the south side of City Hall will be removed as soon as possible and placed in storage.

The move was hailed by groups that say Columbus statues depict the explorer’s genocidal cleansing of the New World and exploitation of Native people, and opposed by Italian-Americans who say the statues are works of art that should be preserved.

There also are plans to remove the Christopher Columbus statue outside Columbus State Community College in the Discovery District Downtown. It has twice been vandalized.

A third Columbus statue is at the Statehouse.

“I was very pleased to hear about this,” said Kevin Truitt, an attorney with the Ohio Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, which has supported many of the Black Lives Matter protest organizers. “There have been a lot of people pushing this for years, as a symbol of oppression and racism in front of our city hall.

“Having this monument to this man is troubling to many, especially indigenous people. It’s a great first step. The protests have just started so many great things happening here in Columbus.”

Ginther has called on the Columbus Art Commission to lead an effort to replace the statue with public artwork that better reflects the people of Columbus and offers a shared vision for the future.

“For many people in our community, the statue represents patriarchy, oppression and divisiveness. That does not represent our great city, and we will no longer live in the shadow of our ugly past,” said Ginther said in a news release. “Now is the right time to replace this statue with artwork that demonstrates our enduring fight to end racism and celebrate the themes of diversity and inclusion.”

Joseph Contino, spokesman for the Columbus Piave Club, which promotes Italian heritage and culture, said the explorer’s journal and records have been distorted and misrepresented in popular culture.

“The worst possible translations have always been used for political purposes,” he said. “Columbus was a mover and shaker who traveled with conquistadors … that found a continent that no one knew existed.”

The club was instrumental in getting the statue from Genoa, Columbus’ sister city, in 1955. “We’ve celebrated it every year with a wreath-laying ceremony.

Bill DeMora, past-president of the Columbus Italian Club, said that several groups and prominent Italian Americans in the area are working to find new homes for the statues.

The Columbus State depiction, he said, might end up at the group’s clubhouse on West 3rd Avenue in Grandview Heights.

“I don’t want to see them demolished, bulldozed over and taken to the landfill and dumped,” said DeMora, who has spoken to city officials about the removal.

“I have been assured that there will be a permanent new home for both of these on private property.”


©2020 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

Visit The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio) at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.