Controversial Statue in San Jose Begins to be Removed

After more than three decades of controversy, the Thomas Fallon statue in San Jose is coming down.

The city council voted unanimously in 2021 to remove the statue and on Tuesday, crews with jackhammers started that process.

The 1,200-pound bronze sculpture depicts Captain Thomas Fallon raising a U.S. flag in San Jose on what was then-Mexican land. Ever since the statue of one of San Jose’s first mayors went up at Julian and St. James streets, it has been controversial — with some saying it represents racism and oppression.

Crews began the process of removing the statue from its pedestal, something James Dominguez and his tribe fought for years to see happen.

“It’s like having a statue of a tyrant in the middle of San Jose. We’re trying to move forward from this, not move back,” said the member of Muwekma Ohlone Tribe SF Bay Area.

Gregory White works near the statue and is also glad to see it will soon ride off into the sunset.

“It represents racism, it represents genocide,” said White. “It represents parts in history that, of course, they need to be remembered, but not be celebrated.”

For years. the Fallon statue has been consistently vandalized. Someone even doused it in red paint.

Others fought to keep the statue to remember a significant moment in history when San Jose formally joined the U.S.

The city says the cost of taking down the statue, including traffic control and heavy machinery, is $450,000 and it should be gone by May 4.

Once the statue is removed, it will be placed in storage.

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