AUGUSTA — The controversial statue of a former U.S. Supreme Court chief justice was abruptly removed over the weekend from the grounds of the Kennebec County Courthouse in Augusta.

The seated representation of Melville W. Fuller, which had rested atop a granite base on the courthouse’s front lawn since 2013, was plucked from its granite base Sunday morning. The base remained in place Monday.

Scott Ferguson, the Kennebec County administrator, said neither the private owner of the statue nor anyone else gave county officials notice the monument would be moved.

“When you’ve got a truck driving up the steps of the courthouse, I think one would raise an eyebrow,” Ferguson said Monday.

Ferguson said a county security camera recorded the removal of the statue at 10 a.m. Sunday. Ferguson said a security camera is pointed in the direction of the statue, but its view is partially obstructed by a column.

“Other than that, I don’t know too much more,” Ferguson said. “Obviously, we weren’t notified that was going to be happening.”


The bronze statue belongs to Robert Fuller Jr., a relative of Melville Fuller.

Robert Fuller commissioned and donated the statue and the cost of its installation to the county on the 125th anniversary of Melville W. Fuller’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Melville Fuller was an Augusta native who was sworn in to the state bar inside the Kennebec County Courthouse.

A statue of former Chief Justice of the United States Melville W. Fuller on Feb. 8 on the front lawn of the Kennebec County Courthouse in Augusta. The statue’s owner moved it Sunday. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Melville Fuller presided as chief justice over the court that decided the landmark Plessy v. Ferguson case, which codified the “separate but equal” doctrine that has been the basis of racial segregation in the United States.

While the statue had been a gift to the county, Robert Fuller bought it back for $1 last April, after the Kennebec County Commissioners agreed the statue ought to be moved from its position in front of the courthouse, which also houses the district attorney’s office.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court had requested the county consider moving the statue in mid-2020, amid nationwide protests over the treatment by Black people by authorities that also prompted the removal of other monuments linked to racial oppression.


The commissioners had agreed to allow the statue to remain in place for up to a year, while Robert Fuller investigated options for moving it.

Gene Green, part-owner of WH Green & Sons Inc., a crane services company in Vassalboro, confirmed Monday his company had removed the statue and taken it to storage.

All that remains of the statue of Melville Fuller on Monday at the Kennebec County District Attorney’s office in Augusta is a base of the statue. The bronze impression of the former chief justice of U.S. Supreme Court was apparently removed Sunday. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

“They just hired me to do some work,” Green said Monday. “That’s all I really know.”

On Sunday, Fuller emailed a photograph of the statue, depicting the seated jurist in the bed of a pickup truck, to Spectrum News, with a note reading, “Maybe the chief justice has gone South for the winter!”

Attempts to reach Robert Fuller for additional comment Monday were unsuccessful.

Last week, the Augusta Planning Board delayed consideration of a proposal by Robert Fuller to develop a vacant lot across Winthrop Street from the county courthouse into the Judicial Heritage Society Museum and Park. Initially, the plan called for the lot to house a statue that was not identified and a maintenance shed, enclosed by a fence.


At the end of a public hearing, which drew live comments and nearly three dozen emails opposing the plan, Fuller’s representative asked that the application be put on hold indefinitely.

Property records show that at the time of the 2021 agreement, Robert Fuller was buying the former YMCA lot across Winthrop Street from the courthouse.

Ferguson said as of Monday, no plans had been made to remove the statue’s granite base. When the base was installed, State Street was shut down for several hours.

“That’s a monumental task,” Ferguson said.

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