Well-known monument in Highlands neighborhood vandalized

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The city of Louisville has decided to move the John B. Castleman statue in Cherokee Triangle and the George Prentice statue in downtown Louisville.

Mayor Greg Fischer said in a news release that the statues "serve as validating symbols for racist or bigoted ideology."

A destination has not been decided for the two statues, but the city said it's had conversations with Cave Hill Cemetery about moving them to each man's family burial grounds.

Orange paint is still visible on the Castleman statue after vandals repeatedly targeted it. Castleman was a Brigadier General in the Confederate army and was a pioneer for Louisville’s park system, including Cherokee Park. The statue was erected in 1913.

"That statue has basically been what people think about when they come to Cherokee Triangle," said Gary Barch, who has lived in the Highlands for 25 years and is in favor of removing the statue. "We have to think about it long and hard before we put something up there."

Prentice was a Louisville newspaper editor who was critical of immigration and Catholic beliefs. His editorials were linked to the violence of "Bloody Monday," a "travesty whose stain was pressed deep upon the history of the city and upon the reputation and character of George D. Prentice," according to The Encyclopedia of Louisville. Twenty-two people died in the riot that targeted Irish and German immigrants.

Wednesday's announcement comes after more than a year of debate stemming from a rally in Charlottesville, Va. The city has already moved the Confederate memorial near the University of Louisville to Brandenburg, Kentucky.

A Public Art and Monuments Advisory Committee was appointed by Fischer in 2017 to develop a plan for the city's statues.

“Our Public Art and Monuments committee worked very hard, in cooperation with citizens, to develop thoughtful principles to help ensure that our public art and monuments respect our history but reflect the values of today,” Fischer said in the news release. “I support those principles, and I used the criteria laid out in their report to make this decision about the Castleman and Prentice statues."

While the city's plan for the statues is still undetermined, many residents don't understand the issues surrounding their removal.

"I never saw it as a Confederate statue," Michael Lucchese said of the Castleman statue. "I just saw it as some guy on a horse."

The city said the statues will be removed by the end of the year.

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