CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that many of the state’s historic sites will be open seven days a week starting tomorrow and continuing through Labor Day. Expanding site operations during the busy tourism season will attract more visitors to Illinois and generate additional dollars for many communities.
“Illinois is home to several sites that are important to our rich American history. We want to make sure that people here in Illinois and those who visit during the spring and summer months will be able to take advantage of our preservation efforts and learn about our history,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
“Nearly three-quarters of our historic site visitation occurs between mid-spring and Labor Day. Governor Blagojevich has shown his commitment to heritage tourism with this budget initiative, and the communities in which these sites are located will now benefit every day of the week,” said Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA) Director Robert Coomer.
The following state-operated historic sites begin daily operations beginning April 17 through Labor Day, September 4, 2006:
· Apple River Fort, Elizabeth
· Black Hawk, Rock Island
· Cahokia Mounds, Collinsville
· Lewis and Clark, Hartford (open seven days through September 2006 for Lewis and Clark Bicentennial events)
· Lincoln Log Cabin, near Charleston
· Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices, Springfield
· Old State Capitol, Springfield
· Lincoln’s New Salem, Petersburg
The Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site in Springfield has always been open seven days a week and will retain that schedule. Historic sites that will begin daily operations from May 29 through September 4, 2006 include:
· Bishop Hill
· Bryant Cottage, Bement
· Cahokia Courthouse, Cahokia
· Carl Sandburg, Galesburg
· Stephen A. Douglas Tomb, Chicago
· Fort de Chartres, Prairie du Rocher
· Fort Kaskaskia, Ellis Grove
· Pierre Menard Home, Ellis Grove
· Jubilee College, Brimfield
· Vandalia Statehouse, Vandalia
· Ulysses S. Grant Home, Galena
An additional $500,000 appropriated to IHPA during Fiscal Year 2006 allows the agency to hire seasonal workers to open the sites an extra two days a week.
Coomer and other dignitaries will officially welcome the first visitors under the new expanded schedule at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center in Hartford. The museum opened in late 2002, and this is the first time the facility will be open seven days a week. The national Lewis and Clark Bicentennial observance began here in May 2004, and it will be one of the final event locations in September 2006 as the Bicentennial observance comes to a close. The Lewis and Clark site will remain open seven days a week in September 2006 to accommodate this special observance.