For the first time, we’re seeing the statues in their storage space after being whisked off their pedestals.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — There are three statues the city of Louisville does not want on display. For the first time, we’re seeing them in their storage space after being whisked off their pedestals.
King Louis XVI is still covered in paint, and to the left of him is George Prentice, the racist former newspaper editor, removed from the front of the Main Library in 2018.
One of the most controversial statues, John B. Castleman, sits against a treeline under a large tarp. It was removed quickly from the cherokee triangle early in the morning on June 8.
The city was still in the middle of the racial unrest and early protests when Castleman was pulled down by order of the mayor.
Preservationist Steve Wiser said the fight to get it back hasn’t stopped, “Due to false accusations and vandalism, intimidation, the city bowed to revisionist history and removed the Castleman statue.”
His group, “Friends of Louisville Public Art”, is now heading to the Kentucky Court of Appeals to get it back.
A circuit court judge ruled against them on September 10. Attorney Steve Porter said the city had three employees on the Landmarks Commission and it’s a conflict of interest.
Wiser said the real history of Castleman tells a different story about the man who fought for the Confederacy and later the U.S. Army, then helped created Louisville’s parks system. Wiser said, “Castleman was a friend of the African American community.”
Wiser showed photos of other statues like Hogan’s Fountain hit since the first protests started in Louisville on May 28, saying “Hogan’s Fountain, Daniel Boone and more recently George Rogers Clark this past week where will these vandals stop? Will they attack Abe Lincoln next?”
For now, the statues remain out of public view.
Wiser said they have no shortage of support to fight Castleman’s last stand in the courts.
“We’ve had tremendous financial support. We’ve had tremendous support from around the community and the citizens want this statue where it stood originally,” Wiser said.