Vandalism under investigation at historic James White’s Fort in Knoxville

Vandalism at James White's Fort (source: Facebook/James White's Fort)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Curators are investigating a case at vandalism at James White’s Fort near downtown Knoxville.

James White’s Fort Executive Director Sam Maynard says they were doing routine maintenance on the grounds when they noticed something unusual.

“We found this which we’re not very happy with,” said Maynard, pointing to three words spray painted on a building more than two centuries old.

“This is just pure neglect. This is pure meanness,” he said.

Maynard says the vandalism may not look like much, but the logs are more than 200 years old. To get the paint off takes a lot of special chemicals that can cost a lot of money. A local paint company did donate some of that.

“On a historical structure itself, if they’re vandalized or destroyed, they’re virtually gone forever and can never be replaced,” said Maynard.

It does not appear to be a lone incident either. Kim Trent with Knox Heritage says they have seen an increase in graffiti on historical buildings in the last year.

“I think it’s folks who are trying to make their mark in the world and don’t understand the repercussions of what they’ve done,” she said.

Many of the areas hit are undergoing restorations, with vandalism setting them back.

“They are more fragile than newer buildings and they retain their original character, and so it’s very difficult to clean paint off of brick, and wood, and stone,” said Trent.

At James White’s Fort, even the threat of security systems was not enough to keep someone from tagging the wall. They are hoping spreading the word might stop anyone else.

“If these kids had a car and somebody went and did this to their car would they be very happy about it? I don’t think so,” said Maynard.

Curators notified Knoxville police. KPD says they are stepping up patrols in the area to prevent it from happening again.

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