Publication Date

Spring 2019

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Katie Algeo (Director), Margaret Gripshover, and Leslie North

Degree Program

Department of Geography and Geology

Degree Type

Master of Science


The 52,830-acre Mammoth Cave National Park, located in the karst region of south-central Kentucky, was formally established in July of 1941, culminating nearly three decades of park creation that displaced several thousand residents of the region. This thesis sampled residents using the 1920 manuscript census for the United States Census of Population and Housing and tracked their migration destinations using the 1930 and 1940 manuscript censuses. Migration patterns for the entire sample, as well as by race and homeownership status, were identified through mapping. Out-migrants generally chose locations north, west, and east of the proposed park area, noticeably neglecting the Deep South. Statistical analyses proved significant differences between proportions of Black out-migrants and White out-migrants moving to urban areas, as well as those of homeowners and renters who were not successfully tracked during analysis. The research underlines unintended consequences of the forced out-migration from the proposed Mammoth Cave National Park and several factors that contributed to it. In the process, the thesis fills a gap in research on Mammoth Cave National Park and sheds light on an important aspect of Kentucky’s history.


Geographic Information Sciences | Human Geography | Migration Studies | Nature and Society Relations