Park Officials Seeking Help In Locating Vandals
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
Mammoth Cave National Park officials are actively investigating an act of vandalism that occurred at Mammoth Cave Baptist Church on Saturday, September 21 after 10 pm. The vandals sprayed painted orange words and drawings on the historic structure’s exterior and interior walls, windows, and benches, according to a press release from MCNP.
“We are truly saddened that such an important structure in the park has been damaged in this way,” said Superintendent Barclay Trimble. “The Mammoth Cave Baptist Church is one of only three historic churches that remain from a time before Mammoth Cave National Park was established. These structures serve as an important connection for the individuals and families who once lived, worked, and worshiped on this land. To see this meaningful building defaced is a crime against the park as well as to our neighboring communities.”
According to the press release, the Mammoth Cave Baptist Church was established in 1827 with the current building being constructed in 1927. The church, along with Joppa Ridge Baptist Church and Good Spring Church, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. When Mammoth Cave Baptist Church was first established, it served as a hub of community life for early settlers of the area. Floyd Collins, the famous cave explorer, as well as many contributors to early Mammoth Cave history are buried in the cemetery adjacent to the building.
"Unfortunately, graffiti can seldom be removed from structures without destroying the historic wood which makes a full removal virtually impossible. The park estimates the repairs to the church will cost between $10,000 and $15,000," the park stated.
Individuals caught tagging structures or natural surfaces in the park can face serious consequences including arrest. Those arrested could face fines of up to $5,000 and six months in jail. Anyone with information as to the possible identity of the vandals is encouraged to call the ranger station at 270-758-2115 or park dispatch at 270-597-2729.