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Friday, August 25, 2017

The Confederate statue at the Manatee County Courthouse was accidentally broken in half last night

Posted By on Fri, Aug 25, 2017 at 5:29 PM

  • Screengrab via Manatee County Government
Until last night, a nearly 100-year-old Confederate statue has stood just outside the Manatee County Courthouse in Bradenton, Florida. But now it rests in pieces. Literally.

According to the Bradenton Herald, the planned removal, which occurred at 3:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, saw the controversial monument strapped up by crane and lifted onto a large flatbed truck, but not before its unattached upper spire fell to the ground and cracked in two.

"It's a clean crack, so it should be pretty easy to repair," said County Administrator Ed Hunzeke to the paper. That repair, the county recommends, would not take place until the statue finds a new home.

The removal of the statue, which featured Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, was overseen by Woodruff & Sons, a Bradenton-area company with "extensive experience with moving heavy objects," according to a press release.

Woodruff & Sons has previously completed work at MacDill Air Force Base, and is soon to begin work on renovating the 63rd Avenue Bridge.

Speaking at a county chair meeting last Thursday, chairwoman Betsy Benac speculated that a previous removal of the statue could have weakened the stone, leading to last night's cracking. The statue was temporarily relocated in the past to make way for a new landscaping project.

However, Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller Angelina Colonneso contested the speculation, arguing in a statement that the county's video footage of the removal proves the placement of the crane's straps were the source of the break. Speaking about Manatee County's former Clerk, R.B. "Chipps" Shore, Colonneso said, "He took great care in moving the Confederate Monument as part of the landscape project."

Orlando's own Confederate monument, the "Johnny Reb" statue at Lake Eola Park, was removed in June of this year. Its planned relocation to the Greenwood Cemetery is on schedule to be done by October, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

However, as for Manatee's monument, its new placement remains uncertain.

County chairpersons suggested multiple possibilities, including Bradenton, Palmetto, and the historic Gamble Mansion. Both Shirley Groover Bryant, mayor of Palmetto, and Wayne Poston, mayor of Bradenton, have stated they will likely not take any action without a formal request from the county.

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