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City Announces Next Steps In Moving Controversial Castleman Statue

The Castleman Statue
February 2018 vandalism.

It has been more than four months since Mayor Greg Fischer announced that the city would take steps to move the statue of John Breckinridge Castleman. But the monument of the Confederate officer atop a horse remains in Cherokee Triangle, despite being the target of multiple acts of vandalism.

On Thursday, the city said it was taking the next step in the process of finding a new home for the statue by filing for a Certificate of Appropriateness. Whether it goes to nearby Cave Hill Cemetery, where some members of the Castleman family are buried, or to storage, the city requires approval of the certificate from the Cherokee Triangle Architectural Review Committee to move the piece.

Architectural Review Committees include residents of their Historic Preservation Districts and serve the Landmarks Commission. The Cherokee Triangle Committee is slated to hold a public hearing on Jan. 23, 2019, to consider the city's application. Details regarding the time and location of the meeting were not immediately available.

Approval of the certificate would clear the way for the city to move the Castleman statue. If the certificate is denied, the city could appeal to the Landmarks Commission, it said.

When Fischer announced plans to move the Castleman statue, he also addressed another monument: a statue of George Dennison Prentice, a former editor of the Louisville Journal who used anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic rhetoric. The city commenced moving the Prentice statue from near the Main Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library into storage earlier this month.

Those decisions came more than half a year after Fischer created a Public Art and Monuments Advisory Committee to review all of the public art in Louisville.

Some Cherokee Triangle residents oppose removing the depiction of Castleman, who had a mixed history. He helped establish Louisville's park system, but also served in the Confederate army.

"The statue has always been something that I’ve appreciated living beside. It’s a beautiful piece of art," nearby resident Jim Morrow said in August.

But others say the statue is a symbol of racism and white supremacy.

As city officials and neighbors approach the next decision point, the oft-vandalized Castleman statue waits, still covered in paint.

Amina Elahi is LPM's City Editor. Email Amina at aelahi@lpm.org.

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