City workers are preparing Johnny Reb for a move to his final resting place.

The controversial statue that has welcomed visitors to the east entrance of Lake Eola Park for 100 years will move to the Confederate section of Greenwood Cemetery, where 37 veterans of the Civil War are buried.

City commissioners decided last month to move the statue after Orlando resident David Porter created a YouTube video requesting the statue be removed from the park because it is “a symbol of hatred and white supremacy over people of color.”

The city did 3D imaging on the monument Thursday to determine if any restorations need to be made to the Johnny Reb, who lost his gun years ago.

“We’re still three weeks away until we can get anything done,” said Don Price, sexton of Greenwood Cemetery. “We’ve picked out a spot where there’s no unmarked bodies. We can’t put in a foundation until we know the weight and if the statue is solid.”

Price said the statue appears to be in seven pieces, which is the way statues were created a century ago.

Johnny Reb will be placed in an open area surrounded by large oaks blanketed with Spanish moss in the Confederate section, which was created in 1902.

Greenwood Cemetery was founded in 1880 after eight Orlando residents pooled their money to pay $1,800 for 26 acres of land to create the city’s first cemetery. The Civil War ended in 1865 so all those buried are veterans.

Mayor Buddy Dyer estimated it would cost $120,000 to repair the aging statue and move it to the cemetery, which is owned and operated by the city.

This will be the third move for Johnny Reb.

The statue was commissioned by a local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. It was erected in 1911 on Main Street, now called Magnolia Avenue, then moved to Lake Eola Park in 1917. Patriots used Johnny Reb and his Union counterpart, Billy Yank, to personify the common soldiers in the Civil War of the 1860s.

About The Author

The youngest of seven children, Terry O. Roen followed two older brothers into journalism. Her career started as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, where she wrote stories on city and county government, schools, courts and religion. She has also reported for the Associated Press, where she covered the Casey Anthony and Trayvon Martin trials along with the Pulse massacre. Married to her husband, Hal, they have two children and live in Winter Park. A lifelong tourist in her own state, she writes about Central Florida’s growing tourism industry for Florida Politics and Orlando Rising.

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