On Sunday, February 6, Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday, my husband and I slogged through the snow to see how many Reagan groupies were hanging around the shabby building at 832 East 57th Street to honor the Great Communicator: There were none. That there is a push to save the worn-out apartment building where the Reagans lived many years ago should come as no surprise. What’s surprising is that the effort seems to be coming from within the Hyde Park community rather than from Tea Party conservatives far beyond Chicago’s so-called liberal borders.
Where were the preservationists when this small nook of Hyde Park first came into question? There have been run-down buildings in that area for as long as we can remember, and we came here in the 1950s. Why so late?
We offer two possibilities for recognizing this small piece of property. First, after the building is replaced by a contemporary structure, a small, tasteful plaque should be placed on the site calling attention to its historical significance.
Second, break the walls, floors, ceiling, and fixtures of the Reagan family apartment into small fragments and sell them on the Internet for between $100 and $1000 a chip, depending on the size. This should raise many thousands of dollars for the University, rather like selling fragments of the True Cross.
Now that’s entrepreneurship for you!
Frances S. Vandervoort
S.B. ’57, S.M. ’65, C.E.R. ’82