Wednesday, April 02, 2014

One year ago today: Chicago Reagan home demolished

Reagan home in early 2013
It was on this day one year ago when the demolition of the only Chicago home of Ronald Reagan began. Two days later the six-flat apartment where "Dutch" lived in 1915 was rubble.

The University of Chicago, which owned the building, tore it down to make room of offices and a parking lot. Chicago officials weren't interested in granting the structure at 832 E. 57th Street landmark status.

I became involved in the preservation effort in late 2012, my idea was to add the home to the state-sanctioned Ronald Reagan Trail in northwestern Illinois, which includes Tampico--where he was born--and Dixon, which the 40th president regarded as his hometown.

Reagan was the first president to live in Chicago and the only one born in Illinois.
Blogger at Reagan home
in 2011

The struggle to save the Reagan Chicago home was always an uphill fight, but the effort was irreversibly damaged by sideshow huckster and shameless self-promoter William J. Kelly, who made the absurd claim that the apartments would be replaced by a parking lot for the Barack Obama presidential library.

A year later, a site has not been chosen for the Obama library. In fact, it may not even end up being in Chicago.

The home is gone. But the legacy of the greatest president of the 20th century remains.

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