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Goodbye, Chief Pontiac: Iconic statue taken down

On Friday morning, a local landmark that stood over Patton Avenue for decades was taken down from its site over West ...

Posted: Jul. 15, 2018 9:51 AM
Updated: Jul. 15, 2018 9:51 AM

On Friday morning, a local landmark that stood over Patton Avenue for decades was taken down from its site over West Asheville.

Harry's on the Hill, a local car dealership, said it plans to find a new home for its iconic fiberglass statue of Chief Pontiac, an 18th-century Ottawa war chief.

The decision was motivated in part by an incident that happened at the dealership last month. According to a June 1, 2018 post on the Harry's on the Hill Facebook page, an "ugly, insulting and inappropriate text message" from a salesperson to a customer in late May led to the termination of the employee, and ultimately to the removal of the statue on July 13, 2018.

According to the post, the now former employee likely meant to text a coworker, but instead texted a potential customer, who is Native American. The post does not describe what was texted, other than it was "ugly, insulting, and inappropriate."

"We at Harry's on the Hill were shocked and extremely upset when we heard about this incident. Behavior like this is unacceptable, inconsistent with our values and will not be tolerated," the post read. The post went on to say the company apologized to the woman, and expressed a commitment to make sure something like this would not happen again.

The dealership also decided that the statue of Chief Pontiac, which it called " a relic from a different era," would come down.

"We have contacted the original sculptor in Arizona who said he would like to bring Chief Pontiac 'home' to his personal collection," the post read.

On Friday morning, the 23-foot statue, which has stood over Patton Avenue for over 50 years, was taken down.

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