By Caliesha Comley
In March 2013, a collaborative effort of faculty, students and grounds staff launched a new historical walking tour of Georgetown College. The tour consists of 16 historical markers, each of which features a historically significant location, building, person or event.
Leading the project were art professor Dr. Juilee Decker, cataloguing librarian and adjunct faculty Prof. Greg Decker and history professor Dr. Cliff Wargelin, who co-wrote the texts for the markers and also comprised the design team. Senior art major Maddy Fritz provided the bronze-inspired design for the markers, which feature the College’s historical seal.
After a recent meeting in which the continuation of the project was discussed, the faculty designers noticed the sign just outside the LRC had been removed. As they continued across campus, they noticed more of the signs ripped from their poles, most of which were bent and tattered. In other instances, the poles were broken off and stolen as well. Ten of the 16 markers were destroyed.
Dr. Wargelin expressed that the physical damage done is not the only problem. He said, “This act of vandalism subtracts not only from the time, money and resources that can be used toward other campus projects, but also subtracts from part of the college’s tangible history.”
The vandalism is supposed to have occurred over Labor Day weekend. It remains undetermined if those responsible for the damage are an on- or off-campus party. Yet, to the faculty project leaders, these facts are unimportant in light of the purpose of the walking tour. Dr. Juilee Decker said, “It doesn’t matter who did it. What I want students to understand is that the project was created for them, to connect them to the college’s history and as a display of college pride.”
Drs. Decker and Wargelin are optimistic for the project despite the incident. Prof. Greg Decker said that “the pride and thoughtfulness undertaken in the project’s collaborative restoration by administration, faculty, students and grounds employees is encouraging.”
Plans for the walking tour’s restoration include removing and replacing the broken poles, and ordering and installing new signs. These repairs are expected to be completed by Homecoming weekend in hopes of sharing the history of the college with alumni and parents, as well as students.
Also, Dr. Decker’s curatorial studies class is currently composing extended captions to accompany the audio tour. The audio tour is in development and is anticipated to appear in the near future.