A look back in time at John B. Castleman - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

A look back in time at John B. Castleman

There was once praise for businessman, military and political player John B. Castleman. (Source: Courier Journal Archives) There was once praise for businessman, military and political player John B. Castleman. (Source: Courier Journal Archives)
Protesters are calling for the city to remove the Castleman statue. (Source: WAVE 3 News) Protesters are calling for the city to remove the Castleman statue. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Before the protest and the call for removal, there was praise for a well-to-do businessman, a military and political player - John B. Castleman.

"By any measure, he would have been a prominent leader figure in the community," University of Louisville Historian Tom Owen told us.

"There's a real chance that he was involved, that his reputation was partly his own creation," he said. 

Castleman's name is peppered throughout Louisville's late 19th century.

We found a 1898 photo of Castleman marching down Main Street with the Louisville Legion.

The old photographs and articles tell a seemingly perplexing narrative of a Confederate soldier turned Army soldier, who was accepted and respected
by Union leaders.

"The Democratic Party became a vehicle for, in the very soon after the war was over, for Confederates to emerge into positions of leadership," Owen explained.

Not everyone was a fan. Some criticized what they saw as a self-inflated sense of importance, especially towards his role overseeing the parks commission.

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And racially charged quotes where Castleman promoted segregation can also be found.

"He really took on some people who really thought he was not deserving of any kind of accolade," Owen said.

The Castleman statue near Cherokee Park was recently vandalized with orange paint. Friday the restoration was completed, costing the city of Louisville $8,200.

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