Chris Wills

ill.gov

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is reviving his end-of-session effort to make the Springfield-based Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum its own state agency. As first reported by the website Capitol Fax, the Speaker filed new legislation Thursday.

The last minute move by House Speaker Madigan in late May to separate the Library from the Historic Preservation Agency y seemingly came out of nowhere, and pretty much went nowhere. The plan passed the House, but went no further before the General Assembly adjourned.

The Old State Capitol in Springfield is a popular tourist destination - it's where Abraham Lincoln gave his "House Divided" speech, but it will only be open to the public four days a week starting next month.

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency Monday announced that it's scaling back hours at more than a dozen of its sites.

Lincoln's New Salem in Petersburg, the former statehouse in Vandalia, and Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville are also affected.

Spokesman Chris Wills blames a 20 percent cut in state funding.

springfield-il-us.org

A budget cut is leading to a reduction in hours at many state historic sites. Officials say without more money, some sites could close completely.

This spring, lawmakers passed what they called a largely flat budget. One of the few areas of government to experience a significant funding cut was the Historic Preservation Agency, which runs dozens of sites, from the U.S. Grant Home in Galena to the Kincaid Mounds in far southern Illinois.

wikipedia

Oak Ridge Cemetery is the 2nd most visited cemetery in the U.S.  The main reason is Abraham Lincoln.   The 16th President, his wife Mary and three of their four sons are interred there.

Since last fall, visitors could go see the tomb and stand outside.  But the interior was closed off for maintenance work.  It re-opens on Tuesday April 1.

150 years ago next week, Abraham Lincoln delivered a 272 word speech that has become known as one of the greatest in history.  Tuesday, November 19, marks the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. 

On Monday, the day before, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will host events to honor the occasion. 

Tourism Dropoff In Springfield

Oct 8, 2013
wikepedia

Springfield officials say they're worried the federal government's partial shutdown may cut into tourism.  
That's because Abraham Lincoln's home _ one of the city's top tourists attractions _ is closed since it's operated by the National Parks Service.  
The site drew more than 295,000 visitors last year.  
The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports (http://bit.ly/1cqLqtj ) the closure comes after peak tourism season.  
The co-owner of a nearby restaurant says there's a noticeable impact on her business as foot traffic declines.  

Flickr

More than 2 million people a year visit Illinois state historic sites.  The locations play a big role in both state and local economies.   But they often lack political muscle.
So a more coordinated effort is underway to bring back the Historic Preservation caucus in the Illinois General Assembly.

Speaking on WUIS’ Illinois Edition, Chris Wills with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency says there is a need:

One governor revels in pork-barrel politics, arranges sweet deals for cronies and gruffly dismisses questions about corruption. Another governor challenges the party line on abortion and guns, reaches out to blacks and gays and offers bold legislation.

And both governors are George H. Ryan.