Christopher Columbus statue coming down in Trenton

Statue of Christopher Columbus at Columbus Park in Trenton

A statue of Christopher Columbus at Columbus Park in Trenton's Chambersburg neighborhood has been covered since it was vandalized on June 16, 2020. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

A statue of Christopher Columbus that has stood for more than 60 years in a park in New Jersey’s capital city is coming down.

Crews in Trenton started dismantling the statue Wednesday, a day after city Mayor Reed Gusciora announced the decision. He said it was made after city officials received “lots of input” from residents and community groups.

Statue of Christopher Columbus at Columbus Park in Trenton
A statue of Christopher Columbus at Columbus Park in Trenton’s Chambersburg neighborhood has been covered since it was vandalized on June 16, 2020. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Gusciora said the statue —which had recently been vandalized — will be placed in storage “to find a more fitting home.” He also said the park in the city’s Chambersburg neighborhood where the statue stood will be renamed eventually, but a timeline for that has not been determined.

Christopher Columbus has become a controversial figure because although he opened the way for European exploration and colonization of the Americas, there is evidence he enslaved and killed Native Americans.

Trenton becomes the latest major city in New Jersey to remove a statue of Columbus, as similar monuments have recently come down in Newark, Camden and West Orange. Officials in many other towns across New Jersey are discussing whether similar monuments in their communities should be removed.

“What we know about Columbus simply makes his image a poor fit for a city that is as diverse as Trenton,” Gusciora said.

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