Crews remove Confederate statue from Lake Eola Park

ORLANDO, Fla. — Crews disassembled and removed a Confederate statue from Lake Eola Park Tuesday morning 100 years after its first relocation.

The 106-year-old statue, nicknamed "Johnny Reb," was moved from East Central Boulevard and South Magnolia Avenue to the park in 1917 because the monument posed a traffic hazard.

The statue will be re-erected in the city's historic Greenwood Cemetery in a section where Confederate veterans are buried.

The statue will face north toward Orlando Executive Airport so it won't offend nearby neighbors, city officials said.

"(We're) just trying to make sure that No. 1, it won't offend. We are not facing toward any neighborhood we can offend. We are working really hard to make sure this statue just became a piece of history," said Greenwood Cemetery Sexton Don Price.

Resident Clay Heinz said he often visits the park with his children.

"I think it's an opportunity to educate my kids on a frequent basis about all aspects of our history," he said. "It seems really unfortunate that we're bypassing such a large segment of our history in a place that's so central to Orlando."

Resident Wendy Boyd sees it differently.

"It's not like they are taking a wrecking ball to it and destroying it," she said. "I think they are moving it to a place where it's kind of being put to rest," Boyd said.

Watch the monument being removed below:

A time capsule was found in the disassembled statue. It was taken to Orlando City Hall, where it was deposited into the city clerk's vault.

It's unknown what the capsule contains. City officials haven't said when it will be opened.

The city will build a base and reassemble the memorial in a process that is expected to last about six weeks and will cost more than $120,000, which will come from taxpayers.

The cemetery also has sections dedicated to Union veterans and veterans of the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars.

The Orlando City Council in 1893 -- 28 years after the Civil War ended -- approved a 50-foot Confederate section of the cemetery. An equally sized parcel was approved for Union veterans.

The first of 37 Confederate veterans was buried in the section in 1901.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer decided to relocate the statue after a blogger said the memorial was a symbol of racism.

More than 50 city and county streets, roads, lakes and neighborhoods bear Confederate tributes in the area.

Six other Confederate monuments stand in Central Florida.

Video: Confederate veterans' section at Greenwood Cemetery

Comments on this article