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Decapitated George Swanston statue, William Land Park. (Photo: Art Taylor for California Globe)

Historical Sacramento Statue of Local Cattle Rancher Decapitated

Activists have been toppling ‘offending’ statues for several years

By Katy Grimes, December 29, 2022 9:07 am

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.

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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14 thoughts on “Historical Sacramento Statue of Local Cattle Rancher Decapitated

  1. Do that to a statue of a “non-white” and it would be considered a hate crime and nothing would stop the investigation to get perp locked up.

    1. Hate crimes are hard to prove under Califirnia law because they require proof of bias motivation, i.e. a pre- existing negative attitude toward an actual or perceived protected characteristic ( such as race, any race) of the victim.

      This would be a hate crime if the victim of the vandalism were an actual or perceived White person and the vandals evidenced an anti-White bias, e.g. by painting anti-White racist statements on the statue. Just based on this story, it looks like vandalism victim was the city that owns the statue and there was no evidence of bias. If that’s correct, it was vandalism but not a hate crime under Califirnia law

      People such as yourself of any race or other protected characteristic ( ethnicity, disability, gender,, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, of association with a person with a protected characteristic) are often understandably unhappy when a. crime doesn’t result in a hate crime report or charge. But that’s because the law is so tightly written

  2. Destroy their history is to destroy their culture.
    Will Darrell spend the money to get a new head sculptured, or will he take a knee with the activists?
    But who will go to city council and ask for the money?
    When graffiti is painted over quickly it de-motivates the vandals.
    Put the head back on, pronto!

  3. This vandalism is completely outrageous and unacceptable.
    Hope the tips to nail the creep or creeps who did this come pouring in and that we can throw the book at them.

    1. We all know nothing will come of it. They’ll never put a “person of color” into the jails they are emptying and closing. People who do things like this are of the same kind that will punch an elderly Asian in the head and keep on walking. Nothing will change until local government leadership changes, and that’s not happening anytime soon.

      1. It’s true, Jimmy, the realities you point out have made us all cynical that there are often no consequences these days for ugly crimes like this one. But it IS a felony vandalism and that’s not nothing when, in addition to that, Sacramento County’s new District Atty, Thien Ho, ran as a strong, tough-on-crime prosecutor as I recall. So if the new D.A. is in fact a strong prosecutor, there is a very good chance it won’t go well for these particular vandals if they are caught.

  4. It’s lawless Democrats and their radical activists like BLM/Antifa who have been removing and toppling “offending” statues for years? No doubt Mayor Darrell Steinberg and the rest of the lawless Democrats on the Sacramento City Council will intervene and make sure that vandals will never be prosecuted?

    1. Samantha, Darrell Steinberg is a proven Marxist sympathizer, remember he ordered the Sacramento Police Department to “stand down” and allow BLM and ANTIFA “Democrat brown shirts” terrorize and loot Sacramento for weeks. I’m looking at a picture right now of him and his feckless police chief on their knees in solidarity with Marxist criminals. let’s hope this POS slithers away soon to his Gavin Newsom Judge appointment/promotion

  5. George sounds like he was a hard working man who gave back to his community. I would not be surprised if the punks who did this, along with Newsom, put George Floyd’s head there as a replacement. The new American Idol. A person who didn’t work, used drugs, defied all laws, didn’t take care of his children, stole from his community and was a felon.

  6. This nonsense is getting so old. Have they returned the statue of Francis Scott Key yet? When they vandalized the statue of U.S. Grant and poet (and former slave), Cervantes, it became apparent this wasn’t protest at all. Just losers who hate that anything ever happened in this country before they were born.

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