The General Sutter Inn in Lititz will remove its statue of the man, known for colonizing California, and weigh a name change amid controversy over his legacy.
The eight-foot statue of Sutter is one of many monuments to white colonizers that have been taken down by United States city officials or occasionally forcibly removed by protesters across the country and world, as people reckon with the legacies they represent.
In a move to show solidarity with Sacramento and respect for the Native American and the indigenous people of California, the owners of the Lititz hotel on Wednesday night announced they will be removing their statue of Sutter on Thursday morning.
The General Sutter Inn in Lititz will remove its statue of the man known for colonizing California, and weigh a name change amid controversy over his legacy. Do you agree with the establishment's actions?
The hotel will also consider renaming their establishment to the Bulls Head Public House or Lititz Spring hotel, their previous name. It was renamed the General Sutter Inn in 1930.
A statue of Sutter outside of the Sutter Health Medical Center in Sacramento, California, was removed on Monday.
The statue, which was defaced last week, was removed “out of respect for some community members’ viewpoints,” said a spokesperson for Sutter Health on Monday in the Sacramento Bee.
The statue has long-been a subject of controversy for Sacramento citizens.
“He’s a racist, he’s a murderer, and he enslaved thousands of Native Americans,” said Ira Rodriguez, of the Statewide Coalition Against Racist Symbols, in the Sacramento Bee’s article on Monday. Rodriguez also said the statue “should have been taken down a long time ago.”
To others, Sutter is regarded as a pioneer and iconic figure of the Old West.
Sutter spent the last nine years of his life in Lititz, weaving his story into Lancaster County history. Sutter, whose original name was Johann August Sutter and whose ancestors were Swiss-German, felt at home in the small town settled by Moravians. As outlined in past installments of LNP | LancasterOnline’s the Scribbler, Sutter enjoyed the therapeutic value of the Lancaster Spring waters. He also liked the location for its proximity to Washington D.C. – since his last years were consumed with legal battles with the Federal government over disputes of the ownership of his California property.
Sutter died 140 years ago today (June 18, 1880) and he is buried in the Lititz Moravian Cemetery. At various times an organization called the Native Sons of Golden West fought to bring Sutter’s remains back to California, but Lititz residents were able to claim the right to the remains.
Sutter’s legacy has been celebrated in Lititz throughout the 20th century with graveside ceremonies and as recently as a “gold panning with General Sutter” event in 2012.
Efforts to reach owner David Stoudt for further comment were unsuccessful.