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Sculptor Buys Back Statue of John D. Lee

Sculptor Buys Back Statue of John D. Lee

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SILVER REEF, Utah (AP) -- The controversial statue of John D. Lee, a prominent Mormon pioneer who was executed for his part in the Mountain Meadows Massacre, is back in Silver Reef.

Sculptor Jerry Anderson bought back the statue two weeks ago and has installed it outside the old Wells Fargo Co. and Express building in the southwest Utah community, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The building houses Anderson's studio and gallery and the Silver Reef museum.

The statue was sold back to Anderson by Washington city officials, who had commissioned it to stand in a city park among bronze figures of other prominent pioneers.

Opponents argued that it was inappropriate to honor a man executed for his part in the 1857 slaughter of 120 men, women and children headed to California.

In April, City Council members voted against the display.

Anderson, who bought back the statue for the $35,000 the city had paid for it, said he would consider selling it again if he receives a legitimate offer.

He believes it has increased in value because of the controversy.

"I figure the statue will be worth a lot of money someday, especially when I'm dead," he said.

Mayor Terrill Clove said Tuesday that he was pleased the city broke even on the deal.

"We're relieved now that we don't have to worry about it," said Clove.

City manager Roger Carter said everyone involved is glad the matter is now behind them.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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