African-American History Trail in Newark hit with 'tremendous vandalism' last weekend
PHILADELPHIA - A volunteer discovered vandalism at the African American History Trail at Iron Hill in Newark, Delaware earlier this week.
"We had tremendous vandalism over the weekend. We had someone destroy all of the signage that we had along the trail," said Robin Broomall, President of the Board of Directors for the Delaware Academy of Science. "Some of them we found pieces of throughout the woods and others are just totally gone."
The ribbon-cutting for the African American History Trail happened a few short weeks ago on February 24.
The trail honors the rich history of the African Americans who lived in the region going back to the 1800s, including the children who went to school at the current Iron Hill School Museum, which opened in 1923 to educate black children in the Iron Hill region.
Broomall said the planning efforts started about two years ago, and unfortunately, this is not the first instance of vandalism.
"It’s very frustrating. The staff has worked and volunteers have worked a long time on the planning for this trail," said Broomall. "Working very hard to create something like this and then just have it destroyed a second time… New printing done everything else installed it would cost us about $8,000 to replace everything as it was."
More than a dozen information signs were damaged or destroyed and the trail entrances remain closed off to the public with caution tape.
Security cameras at the Iron Hill School Museum and on the trail did not capture the crimes on video, but Broomall said the plan is to add additional security before reopening to visitors.
"It will not to deter us from presenting to the public to our visitors the history of the area," said Broomall. "We will put this trail back into place, we will have new signs made, and then we’ll look at additional opportunities for security that we can have on the trails," said Broomall.
The Delaware Academy of Science does not believe the vandalism was racially motivated, as they have an idea of who could be responsible for the vandalism.
The investigation is still active and anyone with information is asked to report it to Delaware State Police at Troop 2 or call the Iron Hill Museum and Science Center at 302-368-5703.