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Confederate memorial in Capitol Hill’s Lake View Cemetery toppled

Thanks reader Jonathan for the picture

Ten tons of granite hewed from the Georgia mountain birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan has come tumbling down from the top of Seattle’s Capitol Hill.

The controversial monument to Confederate soldiers of the Civil War in the middle of Capitol Hill’s Lake View Cemetery was pulled down apparently Friday or overnight. Witnesses described a scene indicating the huge Stone Mountain granite monument was toppled and dragged until it collapsed. Yellow pull straps were left behind at the scene.

The Independence Day episode echoes with efforts to remove and topple monuments to racist figures and the Confederacy around the country during a wave of Black Lives Matter protests following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. States bearing the Confederate “stars and bars” are also grappling with pressure to remove the symbol.

Meanwhile, with the controversial monument toppled, 4th of July also brought a crowd of about 100 chanting and marching right wing protesters and Trump supporters to the area where the Capitol Hill protest zone was cleared earlier this week. Around 1 PM Saturday, the march clashed with groups of counter-protesters near 11th and Pine and video showed a right wing demonstrator spraying his opponents with pepper spray. The group, including some apparently heavily armed participants, was reported marching around the neighborhood and into Volunteer Park.

The monument was also targeted in June

Seattle might seem like a strange place for a Confederate monument but sympathies for the South rose even in the distant Pacific Northwest. The Lake View monument, erected in 1926, is owned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a national organization representing a collection of local associations dedicated to marking the contributions made by Southern women during the war, and collecting and preserving “the material necessary for a truthful history of the War Between the States.”

Unlike the nearby Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery which makes a permanent resting place for 219 Union Army veterans and wives, the Lake View monument does not mark any graves or honor specific people.

The memorial, said to be hewn from a “10-ton” block of “Stone Mountain, Georgia” rock, was created by the Seattle chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy reportedly with money raised at “Dixie Day” during the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo. The group included the actual daughters and wives of Confederate soldiers living in Seattle but the placement in 1926 came during a wave of historical revisionism and romanticizing of the Confederate South.

The monument continues to be managed by the national organization representing a collection of local associations that strive to provide support for families of Confederate veterans, pay tribute to the contributions made by Southern women during the war, and to “collect and preserve the material necessary for a truthful history of the War Between the States.”

But it is also seen as a symbol of hate. Only weeks earlier, the monument was targeted with paint and graffiti in one of a continuing string of attempts to deface and damage the stone structure. In 2018, the memorial suffered damage when several parts of the stone and brass plaques were smashed, including a portion of the monument’s inscription, an insignia, and a relief of General Robert E. Lee atop a pair of crossed muskets. Later that year, it was targeted by a national campaign calling for its removal.

“The Lake View Cemetery Confederate monument was put up during an era of intense racial violence in the South—a period that had also seen the Klan expand across Washington and Oregon, when lynchings became a common way of terrorizing black communities around the country,” a statement from Michelle Merriweather, president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, calling for the memorial’s removal read. “It continues to send the message it was erected to convey. The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle—which has been fighting on behalf of Seattle’s most vulnerable communities for as long as this monument has stood—is loudly calling for its removal.”

Neighboring Volunteer Park, Lake View is a private cemetery operated by a nonprofit association. In the past, cemetery officials have said that since the memorial belongs to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, it is that organization’s responsibility to handle repairs and that the monument does not violate any of the cemetery’s policies.

This time when we contacted Lake View following the paint attack in June, the office declined to speak with CHS. We were told that manager George Nemeth was no longer interested in talking about the memorial.


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23 thoughts on “Confederate memorial in Capitol Hill’s Lake View Cemetery toppled

  1. Thank you Capitol Hill.

    Monuments to racist traitors who slaughtered Americans to maintain their racist right to own black humans as property should have never gone up in the first place.

    Racist white treasonous losers and liars are fore ht history books, not monuments erected 100 years after the racist hate filled traitors lived.

    Germany (NY Times 7/4/2020) Bois Nazi’s Adam Fortney and Nate Nehring (see his social media pages “CHOP is over..SnoCOCouncil PreZ has a very positive story about racist police in another city and county on his social media pages front and center…nothing about the drunken white terrorists in the city of Snohomish in Snohomish County attacking teenagers oaf color while Fortunes White Supremacists looked on on his Twitter feed….

  2. Fine with me. What was a “monument” doing in a cemetery, anyway? Was anyone buried beneath it? No? Then good riddance. Wish I’d been there to help.

    • Agreed.

      This is how we get rid of these awful symbols. If the Daughters of the Confederacy or whatever propaganda group that maintains this puts it back up…I hope they vandalize it again. And again. And again.

      It’s how we get rid of these symbols of white supremacy.

      Now how about we talk about renaming Volunteer Park, and it celebrates what is America’s first really awful war of empire building.

      Maybe, I dunno, name it for someone or something worthy?

  3. These monuments to the Confederacy serve the same purpose those heavily armed, rightwing militia groups marching through liberal neighborhoods do: to intimidate and terrorize. They were erected to glorify the cause of the Civil War, and to legitimize white supremacy during the Jim Crow era and later, as backlash to the Civil Rights Movement grew.

    People wringing their hands over the lawlessness of tearing them down need to think long and hard about why they were put up in the first place. Tearing these statues down is as symbolic as when the Iraqis tore down Saddam Hussein’s statue (with the full support of the same right wingers who are now claiming Americans shouldn’t tear down monuments to those who terrorized their families).

  4. All my life I’ve dreamed of people toppling that. Maybe this IS the best 4th of July after all?!

    Hoping so hard it stays gone forever and the cemetery doesn’t put it back up.

  5. My great great grandfather Frederic Augustus Marsh (1842-1912) and his wife Martha are buried near this monument, in an adjacent section of the cemetery. Fred was an enlisted soldier and member of the Massachusetts 23rd regiment, which fought in the Army of the Potomac against General Lee’s forces. Fred and Martha migrated to Seattle at the time of the Yukon gold rush.

    Why should the traitors he risked his life fighting have a monument to their phony valor in Seattle? My ancestor must be turning over in his grave. Please tell the United Daughters of the Confederacy they are no longer welcome. Their monument is not a grave marker.

    If you look carefully at Lakeview Cemetery, you can see that it was once segregated, and that early burials of Asians were separated from Europeans. But the cemetery has long since become integrated, and more recent burials have defeated earlier segregation patterns.

    The UDC monument no longer belongs at Lakeview Cemetery. The nonprofit that manages this cemetery should demand its removal, and if the UDC doesn’t do so (and who is going to remove 10 tons of granite?) then the stone should be donated to some other group to create something more worthy of Seattle.

    • Agreed!! I had fantasies about covering it with flowers and turning it into a BLM communal grieving altar akin to the one that was down on 11th Ave.

      Many of us need a place to grieve, and it felt like it could be fun to appropriate the old monument for a new cause. Take that, UDC!

    • Your ancestor F.A. Marsh helped secure our freedom and was a true patriot, unlike the very few ex-CSA losers buried at Lakeview. As in the Civil War itself, they are now and were then “outmanned, outfought and outgunned” by the Grand Army of the Republic. GAR Park should be a gathering place for AntiRacist remembrance; while its been well-maintained by our Parks workers and decked with flags or flowers by a few vets, I hope to see some or you there honoring Union vets at future Veterans, Memorial or Independence days.

  6. Is there any more information about the armed right wing protestors assaulting people in CHOP and Volunteer Park? That doesn’t seem to be reported anywhere. I’m talking about this, which was only mentioned briefly above: “a right wing demonstrator spraying his opponents with pepper spray. The group, including some apparently heavily armed participants, was reported marching around the neighborhood and into Volunteer Park.”

    • The protestors walked past my building in CH, coming from pine/pike and headed in the Volunteer park direction. About 75-100. They carried ‘do not thread on me’ and US flags and many covered their faces (…with balaclavas, not with surgical masks) I had noticed them scouting Volunteer Park in the morning so it was a planned event. No SPD to be seen.

  7. Now finish the job of renaming the Jefferson Davis highway (route 99)
    The lege tried this some 15 or 20 years ago but a group of “useful” idiots for treason stopped it.

  8. Many cheers and a hearty thank you to the good patriots who removed this miserable tribute to hatred and oppression on the very symbolic day of July 4th.

    This may be private property, but it is a very public space where people trying to pay their respects to loved ones should not be forced to deal with the additional pain this statue must have caused. Shame on the cemetery owners for not dealing with this a long time ago.

    • Good patriots don’t sneak in and act like criminals. They show their faces and walk in the open gates during the day and be willing to be judged as individuales their actions. I’m glad this is down but don’t like the cowardly way it took place.

  9. Times have changed. A year ago I thought a memorial in a cemetery to those buried therein who fought for the South was acceptable. Now I agree it is a blasphemy that needs to be torn down. Well done!

  10. Setting a precedent of vandalizing cemeteries is a bridge too far for me. I’m sure if they had held a dialogue with the cemetery association they could have got it removed and replaced with something more respectful of the current zeitgeist. We’ve already seen that vandalism doesn’t stop at Confederate monuments. Even monuments to abolitionists or fighters of actual real-life Nazis don’t get passes anymore. I am disappointed that so many are applauding this.

  11. How much money is left in the trust that the “United Daughters of the Confederacy” set up to continue maintenance on the monument?
    Has anyone ever found and published the original documents that erected it and pay for its continued maintenance?

  12. Having just read up on the moment, I had not realized that the rock came from Georgia’s Stone Mountain. It was built in 1926, after the Klan was established for a second time ( at Stone Mountain ).
    It is a thinly veiled monument to the Klan.
    If it not destroyed this time, maybe the next group will hall it off and either dump it into a lake or have it ground into dust.
    Whenever the money runs out to rebuild the monument, and assuming protestors don’t remove it, the rock should not be hauled off and left intact.
    The rock used to build that monument needs to be completely destroyed.

    • Yessss! My thoughts *exactly.* Let there be no more fawning remnants of the haters & traitors & f’in racists that ruined countless lives and tore this country apart.

  13. So glad this Confederate piece of trash has been taken down. If anyone puts it back up, I will personally carry it out to the dump where it belongs. Fu*k the ‘Daughters of the Confederacy’ and their feral, hateful, bigoted, RACIST ‘heritage’ (lol) & ‘tradition.’ Finally, some progress toward not only a better Seattle, but maybe, hopefully…a better, more-accepting and loving world. Oh…except for Confederate & neo-Nazi haters & traitors, who can all go straight to where the sun don’t shine!

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