There has been much discussion about the fate of the statue of Christopher Columbus that resides in the Elmwood neighborhood of Providence. Tonight I will be introducing a resolution requesting that no decision be made regarding the statue without a robust and full engagement with the residents of the Elmwood neighborhood.
The statue is significant to the history of the community, not because of who the statue honors, but for the reason where it stands. It was created by master sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the sculptor who designed the Statue of Liberty and was made specifically for Providence’s Gorham Manufacturing Company. It was originally cast in silver as a way to highlight the company’s expertise and was presented for display at the 1892 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
The bronze-cast replica was created in 1893 and dedicated in November of the same year. It was a gift to the City of Providence from the Elmwood Association, a civic group comprised of residents of the neighborhood near the Gorham Plant. The statue is located in Columbus Square which is located in the heart of Elmwood and is a steadfast reminder of Elmwood’s past and prosperity. Columbus Square has also been listed on the National Register of Historic Places for nearly two decades.
The resolution that I will be introducing is only to ensure that any discussion that may or may not occur around – the location or proposed relocation – of this statue includes the Elmwood Community and its residents.
James E. Taylor
Providence City Council
Councilman – Ward 8