Monday, September 8, 2008

History Lesson

Anyone ever heard of a fellow named Rod Blagojevich? He is the governor of Illinois. Due to a budget cut, the state of Illinois is going to close 25 parks and historic sites on October 1, 2008.

Anyone ever heard of a fellow named Pierre Menard? Pierre Menard was a very, very, very wealthy man in his time and was heavily involved in politics and trades. He was the first Lt. Gov. of the state of IL in Kaskaskia, where IL began. Pierre built an amazing house in his era which overlooked what is now called the Mississippi River. The home is just below Fort Gage State Park where so many events are, reunions, field trips... The state bought The Menard Home and land in 1929, spent years restoring the home, and then opened it to the public in the late 1950's. This home had one state employee working on site for many years. The employees use volunteers to help with the home upkeep as well. This state site has been a frequent stopping place for Nathan and I in our visits out to his parents. The first time I was there, I thought that the house was grand... Nathan was SHOCKED at how much the house had changed. Weeds everywhere, the roof was bad, painting need to be done... it was quite a shock for him. Last year, a fellow named Andrew started there and has made some very important improvements to the home with the help of the volunteers. The flower beds are amazing and everything is in bloom, the house is being repainted... so many positive things!

The Mendard home is a state historic site, and sadly it is slated to be one of the ones closed. I personally think that this is a slap in the face of history. History has to be preserved for other generations to learn from. If I learned anything when I was working for the police department it was that empty places are certain to have vandalism. I think it is a shame that these historic sites and parks will be "fair game" for vandals and stand a chance of being horribly damaged.

Andrew is currently out of a job since he was laid off... the volunteers have received special permission to continue to work on the home to keep the weeds down and the mice out. They must have a letter when they are there though or they could be taken to jail! Closed means closed! If you would like to give the volunteers a word of encouragement as they continue their deeds in preserving history, leave them a message!

If anyone is a resident of Illinois or someone who has visited there (or maybe a history buff) who is willing to write a letter to the governor of the state in protest of the closing of state parks and historic homes, here is his info:
Office of the Governor
207 State House Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: 217-782-0244 or 312-814-2121 TTY: 888-261-3336


Claudia said...

That's terrible!!! How sad. What otherfunds were slashed?

The Burgess Family said...

a ton of stuff!!! They won't even buy gas to keep the shoulders of the roads cut down... talk about a hazard there with the interstates!