Scarp: Goldwater a better choice to stand in Capitol's Statuary Hall - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Scarp: Goldwater a better choice to stand in Capitol's Statuary Hall

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Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2008 12:42 am | Updated: 10:21 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

You put up a statue of somebody, and, in part because it's made of bronze or marble, you have an idea that it'll be there forever. Not that choosing John C. Greenway to have the honor of a sculptured likeness in Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol isn't worth some rethinking.

Read Mark Scarp's blog, 'Scarpsdale'

As the Cronkite News Service reported in Tuesday's Tribune, a bill is in the Legislature calling on Congress to replace his statue with that of the late former Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz.

Goldwater has a big presence in Scottsdale. Goldwater Boulevard is named for the 1964 Republican presidential nominee, senator, photographer and aviator.

A statue of Goldwater stands at Tatum Boulevard and Lincoln Drive in Paradise Valley, where Goldwater lived for decades.

But Greenway was in that hall first. So I went to the University of Arizona library's Web site, which, in addition to its own sources, cites items from Richard E. Sloan's "History of Arizona" about Greenway.

Sloan's history was written in 1930, the same year Greenway's statue went up, one of two each state is allowed to have in Statuary Hall. The other is of Father Eusebio Kino, the 17th-century Spanish priest who was among the first Europeans to explore what is now Arizona.

For one thing, Tuesday's story said, Greenway lived in Arizona for only 15 years. A former Rough Rider in the Spanish-American War, he made a lot of money here, as many did in the 19th and early 20th centuries. That shouldn't count against him. He was a copper mining magnate, and founded the southwestern Arizona copper-mining town of Ajo.

Greenway's is a statue of limitations, however.

The UA library Web site, quoting Sloan and its own sources (by the way, Greenway once served on the university's Board of Regents) goes on to say that Greenway's was one of three copper companies owning mines in Bisbee in July 1917 that had a role in the deportation of more than 1,100 miners and others to New Mexico after turning down a striking labor union's demands for better working conditions. Vigilantes, many organized by Greenway and other mine officials, put the men into train cars several inches deep in manure.

The men ended up being dropped off in the middle of nowhere, waiting for two days until another train with food and water arrived, according to the UA library site. Two men died during the roundup.

According to Sloan, Greenway was indicted on kidnapping and conspiracy charges for his role in what became known as the Bisbee Deportation, but the charges were dropped.

A federal commission ruled that the copper companies, not the labor union, were at fault in the deportation, the UA library site reports, but state authorities took no action at all.

Of state-court lawsuits brought against 224 vigilantes, all were dropped but one, and that ended in a not-guilty verdict.

State historian Marshall Trimble of Scottsdale Community College told me Tuesday that Greenway's being chosen for a statue shows the political power that mining companies had in Arizona at the time.

Trimble said that his choices for the two Arizona statues would be Goldwater and the late former U.S. Sen. Carl Hayden, D-Ariz.

"They were the giants of Arizona," said Trimble, who said that distant relatives of his had done business with Greenway's widow, Isabelle. But as state historian, he said, he has to put any biases aside and look to history.

Even though Greenway was "a fine man, a fine businessman," Trimble said his selection for a statue was "not the spirit of Arizona and doesn't reflect the spirit of Arizona."

John C. Greenway had some very good qualities and was a major figure in Arizona copper mining. People of his time saw worthy things in him; I'm sure his statue hasn't stood in the Capitol all these years for nothing.

But the Bisbee Deportation, the running out on a rail of hundreds of innocent mine workers, cannot be denied.

In the hall of great Arizonans, Goldwater's got Greenway beat. There's still Greenway Road and Greenway Parkway and, in a strange irony, Greenway-Hayden Loop, that curving Scottsdale roadway that puts those two together.

Meanwhile, let's hope this bill gets passed and Congress sees fit to let the image of Arizona's favorite son find its way back to the Capitol where Barry Goldwater spent so many years representing this state.

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