Fayette County

Confederate statues came down months ago. Why haven't they been moved to new home?

John Hunt Morgan statue taken down by crane

Just past midnight Oct. 18, the statue of John Hunt Morgan was lifted by crane onto a flat-bed semi truck. The statue was one of two controversial Confederate monuments removed by the city of Lexington.
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Just past midnight Oct. 18, the statue of John Hunt Morgan was lifted by crane onto a flat-bed semi truck. The statue was one of two controversial Confederate monuments removed by the city of Lexington.

What happened to John Hunt Morgan and John C. Breckinridge?

The statues of Hunt Morgan, a a former Confederate general, and Breckinridge, the last Confederate Secretary of War and former U.S. Vice President, were removed from the lawn of the former Fayette County courthouse in October.

The move came after the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council voted unanimously in August to move the statues. The Lexington Cemetery ultimately agreed to take them.

Both Hunt Morgan and Breckinridge are buried in the Leestown Road cemetery.

Seven months later, the statues that towered over Main Street for more than 100 years are still in a secure storage facility.

A series of unexpected delays have pushed the statues' moving date to sometime in late summer, Lexington city officials said this week. They hope Hunt Morgan and Breckinridge will be in their new homes by late July.

The statues will be moved as promised, said Sally Hamilton, Lexington's chief administrative officer.

When the cemetery agreed to take the statues, it wanted new, smaller bases. Originally, the city thought those bases could be re-cut. They could not. They had to order new bases from a quarry in Vermont, which shuts down in the winter.

"The bases should be here in the next few weeks," said Hamilton. But those bases still have to be engraved. The city also agreed to provide security cameras on poles. The city has the security cameras but the special poles those cameras are mounted on will not arrive until mid-July.

Some preparation work has already been completed — such as the foundations for where the statues will be placed and work on where the poles will be placed.

"I keep pulling my hair," Hamilton said. "Every time some one walks in it's another delay."

Private money will pay for the new bases and other equipment needed to move the statues. Duncan Machinery and Prometheus Bronze Foundry helped move the statues in October at no cost.

Hunt Morgan will be placed near the Confederate cemetery. Breckinridge's statue will go in his family's plot.

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