News / USA

University Plans To Demolish Ronald Reagan’s Chicago Apartment

University Plans To Demolish Ronald Reagan’s Chicago Apartmenti
X
December 27, 2012 10:18 PM
Former U.S. president Ronald Reagan spent much of his life in California, but residents in the Midwestern state of Illinois note proudly that he was born and raised there. He spent a brief period of his childhood in Hyde Park, on the South Side of Chicago, which is also President Barack Obama’s old neighborhood. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, a debate is under way about the historic importance of Reagan’s old home, which faces the wrecking ball to make way for an expansion of the University of Chicago’s medical campus.

University Plans To Demolish Ronald Reagan’s Chicago Apartment

Kane Farabaugh
— Former U.S. president Ronald Reagan spent much of his life in California, but residents in the Midwestern state of Illinois note proudly that he was born and raised there.  He spent a brief period of his childhood in Hyde Park, on the South Side of Chicago, which is also President Barack Obama’s old neighborhood.  As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, a debate is under way about the historic importance of Reagan’s old home, which faces the wrecking ball to make way for an expansion of the University of Chicago’s medical campus.

It is a non-descript building in a south Chicago neighborhood. But for some local residents, 832 East 57th Street, in Hyde Park, is anything but ordinary.

Ronald Reagan lived here before he was president.

“President Reagan fondly recalled living there. // He spoke about the gaslit streets and borrowing (toy) soldiers from his neighbor.  So he had these fond memories of being there,” said Susan Davis, who lives in Hyde Park.  She wrote a book on the neighborhood's historic structures and says most people don't know that Reagan lived here in 1915.  

“It actually wasn’t discovered that he did live here until the ‘80s,” she said.

Which is partly why the home was ignored.  That is until the University of Chicago purchased the property with plans to tear it down to make way for an expanding medical campus.

The Commission on Chicago Landmarks refused to grant the building landmark status, clearing the way for its demolition. Those with ties to the 40th president oppose the decision.

“This is an opportunity to have this home as another tourist destination for them, reflecting the history of the only president born in the state of Illinois,” said Ann Lewis, who is on the board of directors of the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home and Museum in Dixon, Illinois, about 160 kilometers west of Chicago.  Reagan spent most of his formative years there.

"He would be honored to have something in Chicago that reflected his name and part of his legacy in the state of Illinois,” Lewis said.

“If I was a Reagan person, I would probably be very upset,” said Daniel Weinberg, a presidential historian and owner of Chicago’s Abraham Lincoln Book Shop. The store honors the civil war president, who also lived in Illinois.  Weinberg is not convinced Reagan’s Chicago home is worth saving.

“One can’t save everything, and he was very young and was only here for a couple of years.  I understand that it's important, but what about every single place that he or any president lived?," Weinberg said.

The University of Chicago declined VOA's request for an interview.  But Hyde Park Alderwoman Leslie Hairston says the school is communicating with her office and the community about a way to move forward with the demolition, while honoring President Reagan’s legacy in the area.

“We have had meetings with the community, and they found a way to respectfully commemorate President Reagan’s time there.  They are going to put a plaque there,” Hairston said.

But Hairston says another president may eventually overshadow Ronald Reagan in Hyde Park.  Barack Obama lived here before his inauguration in 2009 and could choose the neighborhood as the future home of his presidential library.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: TadDaniels from: Carbondale, IL
January 03, 2013 2:52 PM
Note to the Editor:

There is no such thing as "the South Chicago neighborhood of Hyde Park." An accurate phrasing would be "the 'South Side' Chicago neighborhood of Hyde Park."

"South Chicago" is a community area (one of 77) in the city of Chicago located roughly 4-5 miles south of Hyde Park.

This isn't splitting hairs. An American news source should get this stuff as accurate as possible.


by: James from: Nebraska
December 28, 2012 6:00 AM
Univ. of Chicago remark about saving every place every president ever lived is nonsense, as we generally do save the birthplace home of a president, and Reagan was the only president born in Illinois.
I am not surprised they don't want to talk to VOA about it, nor give Reagan anything other than a memorial plaque. The University of Chicago could give a hoot about heritage or anything other than $$$$$.
Too bad I can't afford college. I might've become a lawyer, they are better at fighting such nonsense than disabled vets are.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid