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

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer 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.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs