WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The Beehive Monument on Public Square was meant to showcase the best of Wilkes-Barre, but it became the centerpiece of controversy when a Ku Klux Klan group purchased a commemorative brick on the statue. Now the entire statue is gone, taken down by the city.
With all the busyness of the Thursday farmers market on Public Square, people don’t seem to be aware that the beehive monument is missing, but a Wilkes-Barre DPW crew removed it at some point late Wednesday or early Thursday morning. The spot where the monument stood is now covered with fill material.
The monument sparked a discussion on free speech after a KKK affiliated group called “East Coast Knights of the True Invisible Empire” had a brick-like plaque installed a few weeks ago. Because the monument included nearly 200 other markers featured the names of business, organizations, individuals, and even phrases, there was no saying no to the alleged hate group. Still, some insisted the marker should be removed. That’s ultimately what Mayor Tony George’s administration decided to do, but he says for reasons other than that.
“We’ve been deliberating this for over a week. The thing is, the monument was coming down anyway in the second phase of the Public Square renovation, so I figured, do it now, why wait,” Mayor Tony George said.
The mayor says the monument is in the hands of DPW right now, and anyone who wants to retrieve the marker they bought can do so.