Christopher Columbus | St. Louis Public Radio

Christopher Columbus

St. Lous County Executive Sam Page spoke about the coronavirus outbreak on the Politically Speaking podcast on Wednesday, March 25, 2020
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page wants to make sure that roads and parks in the county are named for people who are aligned with the county’s values.

“Over time, chapters of our history have been forgotten or wholly rewritten to provide a convenient narrative that leaves out large segments of our troubling and complicated past,” Page said Tuesday during remarks to the St. Louis County Council. “Some of the names of those complications are emblazoned on street signs or the names of parks around the country. Perhaps at the time the streets were named, it was no big deal. But it is a big deal. The symbols that define our community should not be symbols that divide our community.”

Crews lift the Christopher Columbus statue from its pedestal in Tower Grove Park on June 16, 2020.
Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:50 p.m., June 16

A crew removed the statue of Christopher Columbus from Tower Grove Park in St. Louis with little fanfare early Tuesday morning.

The statue, which has stood at the east entrance to the park near South Grand Boulevard for more than a century, has become the subject of scrutiny in recent years. Petitioners have called for its removal, citing the explorer’s treatment of Native Americans. 

Picture of Dorsett Road sign. June 12, 2020. 06/12/20
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated June 17 with new statement from St. Louis County

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said Tuesday night that he wants to rename county streets and attractions that contradict the county's values. He also asked county officials research statues on county property. 

Earlier on Tuesday, a crew removed a statue of Christopher Columbus from Tower Grove Park in St. Louis.

Original story from June 14:

Northwest St. Louis County residents are petitioning officials to rename a Maryland Heights thoroughfare named after a 19th-century slave trader and anti-abolitionist.

The petition to change the name of Dorsett Road, which spans nearly four miles through the St. Louis County suburb, is among calls nationwide to remove historical artifacts honoring prominent slave holders and colonialists.

The Christopher Columbus statue has been a source of controversy over the last few years due to Columbus's violent history.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

The Christopher Columbus statue, which has generated controversy because of the explorer’s treatment of Native Americans, will not be removed from Tower Grove Park. 

The St. Louis park instead will add signs and markers near the statue explaining the historical context of Columbus, colonization, as well as the history of the park, according to a Facebook post Wednesday

Washington University historian Peter Kastor joined host Don Marsh for a special Columbus Day segment of St. Louis on the Air to discuss Christopher Columbus's complex legacy.
EVIE HEMPHILL | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

This summer, Tower Grove Park administrators announced the establishment of a commission to address mounting calls to remove the statue of Christopher Columbus currently exhibited in the public park.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh addressed the issue of Columbus’s complex legacy with Peter Kastor, professor and chair of the Department of History at Washington University.

Marsh also heard from Bill Reininger, the executive director of Tower Grove Park, regarding the status of the commission tasked with determining the future of the Columbus statue.

The Christopher Columbus statue in Tower Grove Park is the site of controversy. The statue was dedicated in 1886.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

This Columbus Day, the fate of a monument to the explorer in St. Louis’ Tower Grove Park remains unclear.

A protest is planned at the base of the statue on Monday at noon. It comes as the park is looking into whether to remove the monument to Christopher Columbus, whose legacy has become increasingly controversial in recent years.

The Christopher Columbus statue has been a source of controversy over the last few years due to Columbus's violent history.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

Discussions about removing the Christopher Columbus statue in Tower Grove Park have re-emerged.

Activists have banded together to plan an event, Plotting in the Park for Columbus removal. The event, posted on Facebook, takes place on Sept. 1. The brainchild of Chris Singer, the gathering aims at reaching out to community members to discuss what actions can be taken to remove the statue. Singer said Columbus’ controversial conduct with indigenous peoples should not be celebrated.