Sunday, January 27, 2013

Update on saving the Chicago Reagan home

Reagan apartment behind
 a construction fence
On one of her blogs, Mary Claire Kendall, gives an update on the effort to save the only Chicago home of Ronald Reagan.
On Wednesday, January 16, the Friends of President Reagan's Chicago Home incorporated in the State of Illinois and this week we added two new board members—Don Totten, the most prominent early Illinois Republican supporter of President Reagan, and Dan Proft, a rising star in the Illinois Republican Party and political commentator for WLS in Chicago.
Proft was a Republican candidate for governor in 2010 as well. Totten is a former state senator from Chicago's northwestern suburbs.

Friends of President Reagan's Chicago Home incorporated earlier this month. Seed money, Kendall writes, is needed "to pay for the costs of incorporating as a non-profit and other incidentals." More details can be found at the bottom of her blog post.What would replace the Reagan home? A parking lot is planned for the University of Chicago Medical Center's New Pavilion--several surrounding buildings have already been torn down and a demolition permit for the Reagan home has been applied for by a university surrogate. Meanwhile, the U of C is lobbying to be the site of the Barack Obama presidential library. Writing for Washington Times Communities, my friend William J. Kelly, in this passage, gets to the heart of why the Reagan home must be saved.
Reagan birthplace in 2011
Young Reagan would watch the horse-drawn fire engines galloping wildly down the streets to save the day and he decided that he, too, would become a firefighter. It was here, too, that he survived a bout with pneumonia – he had the fight in him even then.

You can almost imagine him skipping down these streets, playing with his brother Neil, whose nickname was "Moon."

What makes a man great? And what makes a great president? Historians pen large tomes about that. Every man is the sum of his experiences – his loves, his losses, his achievements, and failures. How he sees the world and how the world sees him.

And this place – this place was a part of Reagan's formative years – what he discovered and experienced here in Chicago helped him on the way to greatness.
Ohio, IL
Reagan is the only president who was born and reared in Illinois. Until shortly before Ronald's fourth birthday, the Reagans lived in Tampico. From there they moved to the Chicago apartment. After stays in Galesburg, Monmouth, and a return to Tampico, they settled in Dixon. The Reagan brothers both graduated from Eureka College, which is also in Illinois. All of these towns, and a few other northwestern Illinois communities, are part of the Ronald Reagan Trail. Chicago needs to be the next stop on it.

On February 6 there will be a birthday celebration for Dutch at his birthplace in Tampico. Click here to learn more. I was there for the centennial event.

How can you help save the Reagan apartment? Send tax-deductible contributions to:
Friends of President Reagan's Chicago Home
P.O. Box 3772
Washington, DC 20027-3772
UPDATE January 30: While I admire Kelly's passage about Reagan, a part of his article is incorrect. President Obama has not even selected a city for his presidential library. To say that a parking lot where the Reagan home stands would accommodate the Obama library patrons is incorrect.

Related posts:
Reagan's second Tampico home
on February 6, 2011
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