The Confederate Monument in Forest Park has been at the center of news the last few weeks.

Opponents of having the monument in the park said it represents slavery, racism, and a toxic time in U.S. history, while supporters of keeping the monument in the park say it is a part of history.

A local historian explained the history of the statue for us and explained exactly how the statue made its way into the park.

St. Louis historian, preservationist and Washington University professor Michael Allen said the controversy surrounding the statue began more than 100 years ago.

"Missouri and St. Louis were split. It was a Union state and a Union city with a lot of people at the time who were pretty staunchly pro-Confederate," Allen said. "Lots of slave owners in St. Louis and St. Louis County."

The 32-foot statue was funded by the Ladies' Confederate Monument Association and erected in 1914 in honor of their loved ones' sacrifices. At first, city officials didn't allow it, but then reconsidered in part, to help St. Louisians do business with southerners.

"The Post Dispatch editorialized in favor of the monument saying St. Louis businessmen are trying to trade in Arkansas and Texas, and if we put this statue up it would be good for business," Allen said.

The Missouri History Museum would consider adding the artifact to it's collection, like any other item, if a formal proposal was made.

"We have an extensive Civil War collection that includes artifacts on both sides," Christopher Gordan of the Missouri History Museum said.

Allen just hopes the statue isn't vandalized anymore.

"I think the monuments tend to get defaced when their political messages are not popular," he said. "You can think of the Soviet Union or right now in the middle east, on all sides, lots of monuments get toppled and beheaded and defaced."

Mayor Lyda Krewson said she expects to have a plan in place to remove the statue by the end of June. The Missouri History Museum says it would be challenging, if not impossible, to find a space for the statue because it's so large.