Englishman Beresford Hope commissioned John Henry Foley (1818-1874) to create the statue of Jackson as a gift to the Commonwealth of Virginia. It was unveiled on Capitol Square on October 27, 1875 and remains in place today. Foley’s sculpture was also Richmond’s first monument to the Confederacy that depicted a human form – all the previous ones had been symbolic pyramids or obelisks.
By 1911, a group of veterans led by Rev. James Power Smith desired the second statue to show Jackson mounted on a horse. By 1914, the Jackson Monument Corporation had raised $30,000 of the necessary $40,000, and in January 1915 the City Council approved the monument’s site at Monument Avenue and the Boulevard (now known as Arthur Ashe Boulevard).
The suburban area was growing with the Lee Annex development (bound by Sheppard, Kensington, Roseneath, and Franklin) and specified racial covenants preventing any “person of African descent” from owning a home. Farther to the west, Monument Avenue Park (bounded by Monument, Staples Mill, Broad, and Shenandoah) advertised its suburban lots in 1913 with similar restrictions.
Although Black families were prevented from owning these homes, Black Richmonders worked in many of the homes lining Monument Avenue, living in designated areas of the houses and working in the shadows of Confederate statues.
On June 3, 1915, the Jackson Monument Corporation, with support from the Freemasons and the United Daughters of the Confederacy, lowered a cornerstone in the base of the monument. That same year sculptors submitted models to the design committee, but it wasn’t until May of 1916 that the committee officially chose Richmond sculptor Frederick William Sievers to create the bronze Jackson.
Even after Siever’s selection, discussions continued about whether the horse would be shown in action or in repose. Sievers told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that having both Jackson and the horse standing still would “give to the beholder a sense of relief.” His proposed design remained, Gorham Manufacturing cast the bronze, and on October 11, 1919, his son, William Daniel Sievers, and Jackson’s granddaughter, Anna Jackson Preston, pulled the cords in an attempt to unveil the statue. Like other unveilings in Richmond before and since, the veil stuck, and workmen helped to cut it away.
The statue stood at the intersection of Monument Avenue and Arthur Ashe Boulevard until July 1, 2020, when it was the first of the city-owned Confederate monuments removed by Team Henry Enterprises. Thousands gathered for an impromptu celebration as workers removed the bolts holding the bronze horse and rider.
During a downpour, a clap of thunder rang out at the moment the crane lifted the statue from the pedestal followed by First Baptist Church ringing their bells. Team Henry removed the pedestal in early 2022 and paved over the intersection.
|Authors||Christina K. Vida|
|Work Title||Monument Avenue: Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson Monument|
|Published||October 3, 2023|
|Updated||October 24, 2023|
|Copyright||© 2023 The Valentine Museum|