Everyone, from Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) to the chair of a congressional committee that would have to approve its removal, says it’s fine to take it down.The Masons were in on a plan to whisk the statue away in the dark of night to an undisclosed location, but the National Park Service said that action could risk trespassing charges. Legislation has been filed. The Republican chairman of the committee handling the bill has no problem with it.
The problem is that if Congress votes to remove it, no one wants custody. Pike would be homeless, a political hot potato.
Even the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, the fraternal organization that commissioned the Pike statue, petitioned Congress for its installation in 1898 and reveres Pike as a hero, doesn’t want to accept responsibility for it.
In Pike’s adopted home state of Arkansas, his name is on a highway, a campground and the Albert Pike Memorial Temple in Little Rock.The Encyclopedia of Arkansas has plenty of details about Pike's life, including his support for secession and his stint as a Confederate general and poor leadership of Indian troops. Example:
But C. James Graham, the top Freemason in the state, said there’s no room for the statue at his temple even if funds could be raised for a 1,000-mile trip.
“I don’t know that we would necessarily want it,” said Graham, 58, an associate dean at the University of Arkansas medical school.
An ambitious public figure, Pike joined others in 1845 in supporting actions against Mexico, what became the Mexican War. He helped raise the Little Rock Guards, a company incorporated into the Arkansas cavalry regiment of Colonel Archibald Yell, and served as its captain. Pike concluded early on that the senior officers of his regiment were incompetent, and he shared his observations with the people back in Arkansas through letters to the newspapers. Following the Battle of Buena Vista, he leveled particularly harsh criticism against Lieutenant Colonel John Selden Roane. After the publication of a particularly vitriolic letter by Pike in the Arkansas Gazette, Roane demanded that Pike apologize or “give him satisfaction.” Pike refused to apologize, and the two fought a duel near Fort Smith on a sand bank in the Arkansas River. In the exchange of fire, neither hit his antagonist, and the two were persuaded to halt the duel, with honor satisfied.Pike died in Washington. His Little Rock home — the Pike-Fletcher-Terry Mansion — still stands at Seventh and Rock. It's a property of the Arkansas Arts Center and, rarely used, in need of repair.