It was announced today that restoration would begin on the statue of famous Louisvillian John Breckinridge Castleman. The statue is located at the Cherokee Triangle in the Highlands neighborhood. It depicts the Civil War and Spanish-American War hero astride his horse in full military dress.
Castleman was born near Lexington, Kentucky in 1841. Before the Civil War he studied law at Transylvania University and later graduated the University of Louisville Law School in 1868. During the Civil War her recruited 41 local men to form the Second Kentucky Calvary under the command of Confederate general John Hunt Morgan. Following his promotion to major in 1864, he was captured at Sullivan, Indiana after attempting a guerrilla raid in St Louis, Missouri. He was sentenced to death for espionage, but was pardoned by Abraham Lincoln and exiled to France where he studied medicine.
In 1866 he was allowed to return by president Andrew Johnson. After reviving the Louisville Legion militia in 1878 he was promoted to adjunct general in 1883. During the Spanish-American War his men were involved in the invasion of Puerto Rico and he became the military governor of the island.
Castleman was a successful businessman as well, founding an insurance company with his father-in-law John Barbee. He bought a tract of land in 1870 with the intention of building a large estate, but with the expansion of the city of Louisville, the land became more valuable for housing. The land now consists of part of the Tyler Park neighborhood. He held a lot of political influence, lobbying for the election of President Grover Cleveland in 1892. Following the assassination of Kentucky governor William Goebel in 1900, he was appointed adjunct general of Kentucky to help keep order. Castleman was also important in fighting political corruption an influenced reforms.
Castleman's influence was important in the creation of the Metro Parks System. He aided in getting the Olmsted Parks developed, which would consist of many of Louisville's major parts.
Castleman died in 1918. He is buried at Cave Hill Cemetery. The John B. Castleman Monument at Cherokee Triangle was erected in 1913. In 1997 it was added to the National Registry of Historic Places.