CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Albemarle County’s Court Square Park changed forever on September 12. The “At Ready” statue, which called Court Square home for 111 years, was taken down.
In removing the statue, after holding a public hearing and securing a deal with Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation, is the first locality to complete the monument removal process in full, as laid out by Virginia’s General Assembly earlier this year.
“I’m so glad that the community came together and let the city know that we did not want these statues here and that they needed to go,” Charlottesville resident Katrina Turner said.
Crowds gathered before sunrise to witness the construction begin on the removal of the statue, nicknamed “Johnny Reb.” Ned Gallaway, Chairman of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, was among those there to watch the history unfold.
“Today we disarm our court’s square and embrace another step toward making the internal promise of an equitable and inclusive Albemarle County, a reality,” Gallaway said. “114 years later, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors is once again, in control of our county court grounds, gaining control over our own property."
Turner says she was actively involved in the process of getting the statue removed.
“I know my history, I know what those statues meant to my history so that’s why I got involved to try to get rid of the staple that tried to keep us down," She said.
Gallaway says this is a step in the right direction for Albemarle County.
“We, too, with purposeful intentions chose to create a new point in our county’s history, and choose to redefine this place of significance to represent the values of all members of our community,” he said.
The process began with the removal of plaques on the sides of the base of the statue at 6:30 a.m., then the cannons, and then the bronze statue of Johnny Reb. The statue is being sent to the Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation in Winchester, Va.