City Hall

Dallas City Council Agrees to Sell Robert E. Lee Statue

The empty platform on which the Robert E. Lee statue stood.
The empty platform on which the Robert E. Lee statue stood. Jim Schutze
Attention all Dallas Lost Cause fetishists: Dallas' Robert E. Lee statue, the same one you so desperately tried to keep on its pedestal in Oak Lawn, can now be yours, assuming you win an auction with a low, low opening bid of $450,000.

That's right, thanks to a 12-3 Dallas City Council vote Wednesday, the statue of Lee, his horse Traveler and a young assistant is officially for sale, more than 18 months after having been removed from its former place of prominence in what was then known as Lee Park in September 2017.

“We could have been done with this 18 months ago,” Dallas City Council member Philip Kingston said. “The fact that we're not is a staggering failure of leadership.”
click to enlarge The empty platform on which the Robert E. Lee statue stood. - JIM SCHUTZE
The empty platform on which the Robert E. Lee statue stood.
Jim Schutze

“We could have been done with this 18 months ago. The fact that we're not is a staggering failure of leadership.” — Philip Kingston

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The Lee's statue been in flux since its removal, sitting in storage at Hensley Field, the city-owned former Naval Air Station in Grand Prairie. Initially, Dallas hoped to find a museum to take the statue — valued as high as $1 million — off their hands but couldn't find any takers outside of the Confederacy-celebrating Texas Civil War Museum in White Settlement.

In order to get his or her hands on Lee, the winning bidder for the statue will be required never to display it publicly within Dallas city limits and pay at least what the city paid to remove it. That second provision, the reason for the $450,000 opening bid, came at the insistence of outgoing Fair Park council member Kevin Felder.


"I represent the taxpayers in District 7 as well as the entire city of Dallas," Felder said. "I think we need to at least recoup $450,000, because I've heard loud and clear from part of my district that they were upset about the cost of taking down the statue."

While General Lee may be on his way out — and please, if you're planning to bid on the statue, do something more useful with your money, like helping out the hard-working women and men of your local alternative weekly or, you know, setting it on fire — the status of Dallas' hulking monument to the Confederate dead downtown is still up in the air.

The council has voted to remove the 60-foot-tall statue and the City Plan Commission has signed off on it, but its actual removal is still tied up in a Dallas County district court thanks to a last-ditch lawsuit filed by Confederate sympathizers in an attempt to prevent its removal.  
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young