Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Fallout has already begun from the short-sighted decision by the state of Illinois to close Abraham Lincoln historic sites just as the country is preparing to celebrate Mr. Lincoln's 200th birthday. Back on Friday August 1, 2008, I posted this story about how thanks to budgetary concerns, the re-created village of New Salem, the Old State Capitol, the Lincoln Tomb, and the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices will be closed parts of each week. The law offices will be open just once a week, while the other sites will be closed at least two days per week.
The decision has already angered tourists who were caught unaware by the new schedules. The State Journal-Register of Springfield (Illinois, of course) ran an article on Monday about how over 100 visitors planning on touring New Salem showed up only to find it closed. The article describes the shock that visitors felt, especially considering that websites for New Salem and other attractions hadn't been updated to reflect the new operating schedule. Visitors from as far away as Washington state and California were disappointed and very angered. Residents from Iowa cancelled the rest of their two day stay in Springfield because the other sites they wanted to see were also closed and would be on Tuesday as well.
While it's not the fault of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, it's ironic that it has a special website helping visitors find Lincoln. The logo, which I've posted above, is "Looking For Lincoln." Well, my friends, you can still find him. You just have to look at bit harder now. Way to go, Illinois. How many of these tourists will now never return?