The statue of George Swanston, a 19th-century northern California cattleman, and meat-packing businessman, was decapitated Monday in the Sacramento neighborhood of Land Park.
Vandals removed the head from the historic memorial statue to Charles Swanston, residents first reported Monday on Nextdoor, and then on Facebook. The statue head was found on the ground near the statue.
Sacramento Police Department reported:
On December 26th, the Sacramento Police Department received a report that the Charles Swanston statue in Land Park was vandalized. Detectives are investigating this incident and are seeking any information that may help them in their investigation.
Any witnesses with information regarding this investigation are encouraged to contact Sacramento Police Department dispatch center at (916) 808-5471 or Sacramento Valley Crime Stoppers at (916) 443-HELP (4357). Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward up to $1,000. Anonymous tips can also be submitted using the free “P3 Tips” smartphone app.
Activists have been toppling “offending” statues for several years. In 2020, San Francisco, San Rafael, and Los Angeles protesters were given free rein to topple statues of Father Junipero Serra, Francis Scott Key and Ulysses S. Grant.
In the California State Capitol, Democrat Senate and Assembly leaders removed the statue of Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella in the State Capitol Rotunda. “‘Columbus’ Last Appeal to Queen Isabella” was gifted to California by gold rush banker Darius Ogden Mills in 1883.
In 2020, the statue of former San Diego Mayor, Governor, and Senator Pete Wilson was removed from Horton Plaza in San Diego following calls by activists to have it removed. Gov. Wilson’s statue was replaced in Horton Plaza a few months later.
Valcom News did a 2014 thorough story on the Swanston family and its impact on the region:
At the west end of William Land Park and bordering the north side of the Sacramento Zoo, is a memorial fountain that is dedicated to an early day Sacramentan named Charles Swanston.
Charles Sr. owned 200 acres of land about two miles from Sacramento. On that property, he had packing and slaughterhouse structures that included the then latest equipment.
Charles was a large buyer and seller of stock for his business, which was also a feeder of beef cattle in Nevada and Oregon.
Swanston & Son remained in operation until as late as 1926 under its president Robert Swanston, who was the son of George Swanston.
As a tribute to his father, George Swanston donated $10,000 for the creation of the aforementioned Charles Swanston Memorial Fountain, which sits upon a knoll and includes a statue of Charles that bears the inscriptions: “To the pioneers” and “Erected by George Swanston in memory of his father Charles Swanston.”
In addition to his successful business affairs with his father, George, in association with F.H. McKevitt, was involved with the 1922 sale of property, which would become William Land Park.
George died on July 23, 1923, prior to the completion of the park and its memorial fountain.
On December 26th, the Sacramento Police Department received a report that the Charles Swanston statue in Land Park was vandalized. Detectives are investigating this incident and are seeking any information that may help in their investigation. pic.twitter.com/I0wmo5g3C2
— Sacramento Police Department (@SacPolice) December 28, 2022
The Swanston family ranch was located in William Land Park. “In addition to his monument and other Swanston named local landmarks, including Land Park’s Swanston Way and Swanston Park on Northrop Avenue,” Valcom News reported.
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