A statue of Robert E. Lee in Dallas’ Turtle Creek neighborhood came down hours after crews began removing it Thursday afternoon.
Last week, an emergency city council vote approved the removal of the statue, but a temporary restraining order stopped the process in its tracks. Crews were preparing the statue for removal for more than three hours on Sept. 6 when the TRO was granted.
The restraining order was dissolved the next day, and plans were made to remove the statue last Friday. That didn’t happen either, as the project’s supervisor told WFAA they hoped to get more prep work done.
Early Thursday afternoon, WFAA learned the statue was set to come down at 3:30 p.m. Several police cars arrived at the scene roughly an hour ahead of the scheduled removal, closing off Hall Street, which leads up to the statue.
Preserving the statue for storage is a top priority until a task force appointed by the city council makes recommendations.
City of Dallas representatives have said they will store the Robert E. Lee statue at Hensley Field, a city-owned storage facility in far west Dallas, until the task force decides what to do with it long term.
The crane scheduled to aid in the statue's removal was on its way from the Houston area on Sunday when it was involved in a fatal accident. It was involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler at Interstate 45 and Linfield Road in Dallas at about 8:15 p.m.
The driver of the 18-wheeler died, and the driver of the crane was not injured, according to Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax.
The Conservancy released a statement following the incident:
“It’s difficult to respond to this and all the recent events involving the statue. The Conservancy does not own the statue; we maintain, support and beautify the park and the Hall. We do recognize, however, that this change is a turning point for us and everyone who values the park for its oasis-like setting and peaceful atmosphere. We are hopeful our neighbors and supporters will unite with us to create a positive future for a park that is a destination for thousands every year.”