San Diego

Plaque in Honor of Confederate President Jefferson Davis Removed from San Diego Park

A plaque recognizing a highway named in honor of the president of the Confederacy was removed Wednesday in San Diego. 

The plaque was located in San Diego’s Horton Plaza Park, an estimated 2,000 miles away from Jefferson Davis’ birthplace in Fairview, Kentucky. Crews removed the plaque around 8:30 a.m., said city spokesman Craig Gustafson.

The City plans to return the plaque to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which originally donated the plaque in 1926, said Gustafson. 

In Baltimore, Maryland, Confederate monuments were quietly removed and hauled away on trucks early Wednesday, days after a violent white nationalist rally in Virginia that was sparked by plans to take down a similar statue there.

In San Diego City, Council member Chris Ward (District 3) announced the plaque's removal Wednesday via social media. His Tweet included a photo of the place where the plaque used to be located.

"While some may see many sides to this issue, monuments to bigotry have no place in San Diego," Ward said, adding the removal of the plaque is a small but "critically important step" to keep the city as an inclusive place. 

The plaque was a marker along the Jefferson Davis Highway. 

In the early 1900s, the United Daughters of the Confederacy proposed a memorial highway that would stretch from Miami to Los Angeles. 


The Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway was designed to rival the Lincoln Highway. It would be composed of five highways and run along the southern border of the U.S. The roads included the Borderland Trail that ran through San Diego from Los Angeles to El Paso, Texas. 

Eventually, the Jefferson Davis National Highway was divided into numbered highways - U.S. 1, U.S. 15, U.S. 29, U.S. 80, U.S. 90, etc, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. 

For decades, the plaque remained at Horton Plaza, until the Westfield group started a major redevelopment of the site in 2011, said Gustafson.

“The goal of this project is the rehabilitation of the historic park site to include elements that were present from 1910 to approximately 1930," stated the Historic Assessment Summary for the project in September 2011.

The plaque was listed as a historical feature to remain in the park in the assessment, said Gustafson.

City officials said there were ten public hearings for the construction project before it was approved, but there was no controversy over the plaque. When construction began in 2014, the plaque was removed and included as one of the historic restorations when the park reopened last year.

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