WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Budget Cuts Impact Illinois Historic Sites

Aug 7, 2014

More than a dozen historic sites in Illinois will be closed to the public for an extra day each week.

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency is making good on its threat to reduce operating hours at many of its sites after seeing its state funding sliced 20%.

The Lincoln New Salem site
Credit Enjoy Illinois

Abraham Lincoln's Tomb and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Dana Thomas House in Springfield will be open four days instead of five beginning next month. The same goes for Bloomington's David Davis mansion, the old statehouse in Vandalia, and the Lincoln New Salem site.

But another dozen or so sites will be unaffected.

Spokesman Chris Wills said the decisions are based on staffing levels rather than popularity.

"A number of sites have vacancies that -- because of this budget -- we cannot fill. Therefore it makes sense to reduce their hours so that the remaining person or persons there to oversee tours and maintenance and so forth has some off time.  Otherwise we'd rack up big overtime bills."

Wills said things could get worse next year.

He said unless the legislature approves additional spending, sites could be closed completely.