Fate of Haverhill’s Controversial Hannah Duston Statue Downtown Could be Decided Tonight

Haverhill Police and Department of Public Works assess vandalism damage to the Hannah Duston statue in GAR Park in late August, 2020. (WHAV News photograph.)

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The future of a controversial downtown statue could be decided tonight.

Members of the City Council are expected to hear a recommendation on the statue of Hannah Duston in the Grand Army of the Republic Park, downtown. A proposal appears on the agenda to keep the statue where it is and “provide the Abenaki an opportunity to erect their own memorial, with the City to provide land and site work.”

Last fall, the Haverhill Historic District Commission, which held joint public hearings with the City Council’s Natural Resources Public Properties Committee, voted unanimously to recommend the controversial monument be moved and, 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.

The Haverhill City Council meets tonight at 7 p.m., remotely and in the Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. City Council Chambers, City Hall, 4 Summer St. As a public service, 97.9 WHAV plans to carry the meeting live.

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