Forrest statue removed from along I-65

Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Crews removed the statue of Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest Tuesday morning from along Interstate 65 in southern Davidson County.

The statue was erected on private property adjacent to I-65 in Oak Hill. It was installed along with flags for each state in the Confederacy in the 1998 and has remained there on view for thousands of passing motorists.

After it was removed from its pedestal, pieces of the statue were moved into a storage shed on the property.

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The owner of the three-acre property where the statue sat was Bill Dorris, who has since passed away.

The statue has been vandalized multiple times, including in Oct. 2020 when the word “monster” was spray-painted on the structure and in 2017 when it was covered in pink paint.

Dorris willed the property to The Battle of Nashville Trust, Inc., which released a statement on why the statue was removed Tuesday.

“This decision was made for several reasons-each reason sets aside the contentious debate about
Forrest as a person or as a Confederate general.”

  • Forrest was not present at The Battle of Nashville.
  • The statue is ugly and a blight on Nashville.
  • It has been vandalized, is in disrepair, and is dangerous.
  • Having the statue in such a prominent location in Nashville distracts from the BONT’s
    mission and would be and has been divisive in the city we all cherish.

The Trust added Dorris’ estate remains open in the Davidson County Probate Court and no decision has been made regarding the statue’s disposition or location.

Dorris’ will set up a separate trust where three distinctive segments of the Hogan Road property that will be held in trust. These three segments are for property containing a pre-Civil War ice house, a pre-Civil War artisanal well, and a flag display of state flags of states that joined the Confederacy. These three items, the flag display, the ice house, and the well, will be preserved in trust, pursuant to Mr. Dorris’s wishes, according to The Battle of Nashville Trust, Inc.

A bust of Forrest was removed from the Tennessee Capitol earlier this year. The busts of Forrest, Admiral David Glasgow Farragut and Admiral Albert Gleaves were relocated from the Second Floor of the Capitol to the Tennessee State Museum.

Forrest was a Confederate cavalry general who amassed a fortune as a plantation owner and slave trader in Memphis before the Civil War. His involvement with the Klan came after the war.

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