WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY (Washington County, Utah)
JOHN D. LEE STATUE
DESCRIPTIONA 7-foot high cast bronze statue of John D. Lee.
HISTORYAround 2003, Washington City officials created a memorial plaza out in front of the Washington City Museum. It featured statues of prominent citizens from Washington City’s early years. Jerry Anderson, a talented local scultor, was commissioned to make a series of statues for the project, including one of John D. Lee.
The City bought the Lee statue for $35,000. However, it was never installed due to the controversy surrounding Lee's involvement in the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
Anderson bought the statue back from the City and displayed it outside his gallery in Silver Reef. It was considered for display at the New Harmony Library and at the Fort Harmony Historical Site. But when the gallery closed, the statue was put into storage where it remained for five years until being bought by members of the Lee family.
In June of 2014, the Washington City Historical Society again proposed installing it on the empty pedestal in the memorial plaza in front of the Washington City Museum. But again, the controvesy came up with those if favor arguing that Lee should be recognized for the key part he played in the founding of Washington City and those opposed arguing that because of Lee's involvement at Mountain Meadows, he should not be given any kind of recognition. The city council again decided to avoid the controversy by not allowing the statue to be displayed on city property.
WCHS-03139 The John D. Lee statue
REFERENCESWashington city plan for John D. Lee statue stirs historical controversy
Daily Harald, July 7, 2002
Disputed John D. Lee statue now on display
by Mark Havnes
The Salt Lake Tribune, October 25, 2004
Sculptor of John D. Lee statue buys it back from city
by Nancy Perkins
The Deseret News, October 26, 2004
Council to reconsider controversial John D. Lee statue
by Samantha Sadlier
The Spectrum, June 9.2014
City Council votes against displaying John D. Lee statue
by Mori Kessler
St. George News, June 12.2014