Editor’s Note: While the recommendation below comes from the Haverhill Historic District Commission, the Council’s own Natural Resources and Public Property Committee has yet to release its own findings.
Haverhill city councilors hear a recommendation Tuesday that the statue of Hannah Duston be relocated from Grand Army of the Republic Park, downtown, to one of three alternative locations.
The Haverhill Historic District Commission, which held joint public hearings with the City Council’s Natural Resources Public Properties Committee, recently voted unanimously to recommend the controversial monument be moved, in their words, “appropriate language be added with the statue that includes a Native American perspective to the narrative.”
Commissioners said more suitable locations might be Buttonwoods Museum, Water Street; Hannah Duston Garrison, Hilldale Avenue; or Hannah Dustin Park, Monument Street. The first two sites would require permission from the landowners.
Historic District Commissioner Thomas Wylie told councilors last month he favored a compromise fair to everyone.
“I think what needs to be done is to relocate the statue. I’m not in favor of taking it down. There’s a lovely city park called Hannah Duston Park or, obviously, if they would take it, the Buttonwoods Museum because it is part of who we are,” he said.
Previously, Buttonwoods Museum and the Dustin-Duston Garrison House Association refused to take the statue, fearing that it could lead to vandalism of their properties.
The recommendation was motioned and seconded by Commissioners Wylie and Eric Sanders and approved by Chairman Peter Carbone and Commissioners Ron Peacetree and Daniel Speers.
While the recommendation comes from the Haverhill Historic District Commission, the Council’s own Natural Resources and Public Property Committee has yet to release its own findings.
The statue, erected in 1879, was the focus of both support and opposition during the past summer with pleas to have the monument removed, petitions to retain it and several acts of vandalism. The recent attention stemmed from an international campaign against symbols of racism after the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer.