The statue was originally intended for Monument Avenue in the 1920s, but a backlash ensued.
Standing at the end Boulevard, next to the tennis courts at Byrd Park, is the first statue of Christopher Columbus erected in the South. In the early 1920s, Richmond’s Italian-American community – about 1,000 strong – wanted to gift a statue of their kinsman to their adopted home. The residents hoped city officials would add a Columbus statue to Monument Avenue, but their request was quickly rejected by a city committee. It claimed that Columbus was not only foreign but Catholic – and thus could not possibly stand among some of the Confederacy’s most revered figures.
My how times have changed since the ’20s. A Catholic and a non Confederate icon? Oh the horror!
Photo: Richmond on the James