The John C. Breckinridge Memorial was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 17, 1997, as part of the Civil War Monuments of Kentucky MPS. It commemorates John C. Breckinridge, who had been born and died in Lexington. He was Vice President for James Buchanan and ran against Abraham Lincoln in the United States presidential election, 1860, winning nine Southern states. He served in the Confederate States Army, and was the last Confederate States Secretary of War, fleeing the country after the South lost.
The memorial was done by New York's Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company. The pedestal is made of granite, with the statue done in bronze. Breckinridge is seen standing contraposto The state government of Kentucky funded the construction of the monument.
Breckinridge's memorial was built in 1887, 24 years before the John Hunt Morgan Memorial, also part of the Civil War Monuments of Kentucky MPS.
The Fayette County Courthouse has been moved, the building is now under renovation and will serve as an tourism, entertainment, and office hub.
In 2010 the monument was moved about 50 feet to a new location facing Main Street. This was done as part of the Cheapside pavilion construction project.
In November 2015, a committee, the Urban County Arts Review Board’s, voted to recommend removal of both the Breckinridge statue and the Morgan statue. In February 2016 Lexington mayor Jim Gray announced the statues would stay, but later advocated to remove them after receiving pressure from local grassroots organizing. The monuments were removed October 17, 2017. After a city council vote in November of 2017, the city voted in favor or relocating the statues of Breckinridge and Morgan to the Lexington Cemetery.