National Park Service rangers and state police are investigating vandalism at Saint-Gauden’s National Historic Park in Cornish, after anti-Semitic language was found on the park’s Temple monument.
The damage, reported the morning of Oct. 1 by park staff, includes the defacement of the park’s Temple funerary monument, where the family of Augustus Saint-Gaudens is interred.
The monument was tagged with paint and anti-Semitic language and symbols.
“We were heartbroken to discover this act of vandalism to the Temple monument and grave of the Saint-Gaudens family and we condemn both the act and the language used,” said Park Superintendent Rick Kendall. “We are already working with National Park Service conservators to carefully restore the monument.”
Investigators are looking for additional information from anyone who may have seen any activity related to the vandalism.
National Park Service museum conservators arrived on site Oct. 4 to begin treatment of the site. They are expected to complete the restoration by Oct. 15.
First authorized by Congress in 1964, the Cornish site includes the home and artwork of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, a late 19th century American sculptor.
The Temple was originally constructed in plaster in 1905 for a pageant celebrating Saint-Gaudens’ 20-year anniversary in Cornish. Following Saint-Gaudens death in 1907, his wife, Augusta, commissioned a replica of the Temple in marble.
During his career, Saint-Gaudens created more than 150 works of art, many of which serve as memorials of the Civil War, including the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial in Boston and the Standing and Seated Abraham Lincoln monuments in Chicago, according to a news release.
Over the years, the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site has expanded to include several historic buildings, a collection of American art, a variety of arts-related activities, landscapes and trails, according to a news release.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call 1-888-653-0009. Anonymous tips can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent by text message or voicemail to 1-888-653-0009.
The temple is the final resting place of Saint-Gaudens and his family and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.