PETERSBURG – On behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency Director Robert Coomer stood at the entrance to the log village where Abraham Lincoln lived for six years and announced that many of the state’s historic sites will be open seven days a week starting today and continuing through Labor Day. This successful move began last year and is included in the Governor’s proposed Fiscal Year 2008 budget. Expanding site operations during the busy tourism season attracts more visitors to Illinois and generates additional dollars for many communities.
“Opening our state’s historic sites seven days per week during the tourist season is a win-win situation. Tourists from around the world can experience our history no matter which day they visit, and these people will also spend time and money in nearby communities,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
Director Coomer and Site Manager David Hedrick, joined by State Senator Larry Bomke (R-Springfield) and State Representative Rich Brauer (R-Petersburg), gathered today at Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site near Petersburg to officially kick off the seven-day-per-week schedule.
The following state-operated historic sites operated by the IHPA resume daily operations beginning April 16 through Labor Day, September 3, 2007: Apple River Fort, Elizabeth; Black Hawk, Rock Island; Cahokia Mounds, Collinsville; Lewis and Clark, Hartford; Lincoln Log Cabin, near Charleston; Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices, Springfield; Old State Capitol, Springfield; and Lincoln’s New Salem, Petersburg.
Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, both in Springfield, have always been open seven days per week and will retain that schedule.
“Gov. Blagojevich has made it a priority to open our historic sites each day during the spring and summer months when we experience about three-quarters of our visitation. This proved successful last year, and we look forward to offering these additional days of operation during this year’s tourism season” said Director Coomer.
Historic sites that will resume daily operations from May 29 through September 3, 2007 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; and the Ulysses S. Grant Home, Galena.
“Having these historic sites open seven days a week will allow people to visit our community and not have to worry about fitting an attraction into their schedule,” said Sen. Bomke. “Businesses and the whole community will benefit from the additional hours of operation.”
“Our Lincoln sites are a treasure to anyone interested in history. I am pleased that these sites will now be open seven days a week. This action will accommodate the many visitors who choose to make historic Illinois their vacation destination,” said Rep. Brauer, who is also co-chair of the Legislative Caucus on Historic Preservation.
An additional $500,000 appropriated to IHPA during Fiscal Year 2007 allows the agency to hire seasonal workers to open the sites an extra two days per week.