News Release

Mammoth Cave National Park Seeks Information on Vandalism at Historic Joppa Missionary Baptist Church

White sided building with long wooden staircases leading to two entry doors. A sign between the doors reads “Joppa Missionary Baptist Church Est. 1862.”
Joppa Missionary Baptist Church sits on Brownsville Road (KY-70) inside Mammoth Cave National Park. It is one of three historic churches left from the pre-park communities still standing in the park.

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News Release Date: August 11, 2023

Contact: Molly Schroer, 270-758-2192

Law enforcement officials from Mammoth Cave National Park are seeking help from the public to identify individuals involved in repeated acts of vandalism at Joppa Missionary Baptist Church. The vandals have broken windows, kicked in doors, and painted graffiti on church walls between Jul. 5 and Aug. 4, 2023.

The park is releasing two photos which show a group of suspected vandals and a vehicle they were driving during a recent incident. Individuals caught damaging structures or natural surfaces in the park can face serious consequences including arrest with fines of up to $5,000 and six months in jail.

“The damage we are seeing at Joppa Church is disappointing and deeply saddening for the park and for our neighboring communities,” said Superintendent Barclay Trimble. “Joppa Church is an important physical connection for individuals and families who once lived, worked, and worshiped weekly on this land before it became a national park. When the walls are spayed with paint, or one of the church windows is destroyed beyond repair, rain is allowed to enter the building to cause more damage to the structure.  With these senseless acts of vandalism, we are losing a piece of park and community history forever.”

The Joppa Missionary Baptist Church was established in 1862 as a log schoolhouse but was later torn down in the early 1900s to build the white wood frame building that stands today. Joppa Church served as the center of community life where locals attended weekly church services, weddings, and funerals, and was a place for social interactions with family and neighbors. The church, along with Mammoth Cave Baptist Church and Good Spring Church, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Anyone with information as to the possible identity of the vandals is encouraged to call the Mammoth Cave Law Enforcement Office at 270-758-2115 or write to e-mail us.

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Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 7
Mammoth Cave, KY 42259-0007


270 758-2180

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