Thursday, October 31, 2019

Help Needed

I took time out of my preparation for National Novel Writing Month to answer a request from Todd DeDecker. DeDecker, the Bishop Hill Heritage Association's administrator, asked for help not for himself or the BHHA, but for the Bishop Hill State Historic Site. He provided a form letter so BHHA members can plead the case for the state site getting more financial aid from the Illinois Dept. of Natural Services. I wrote my own letter: 

Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Colleen Callahan, Director
One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, Illinois 62702-1271

Dear Director Callahan,

I am a fan of the Bishop Hill State Historic Site. I lived next door to the Bishop Hill Museum for over twenty years. My kids grew up volunteering for the annual harvest festival and waiting their turns for the fourth-grade Live-in experience. When the king and queen of Sweden came to visit Bishop Hill, we walked through the back yard to meet them, much to the surprise of the secret service agents. That’s why when it came time to write my first book, I relied on my Bishop Hill memories and experiences.

My book, Clouds Over Bishop Hill, may be fiction but the major themes of preservation, the artwork of Olof Krans, and the character of Bishop Hill are not. I take them very seriously, especially that of preservation. Colony buildings shouldn’t be going without the repairs and maintenance they need to maintain structural stability. Such as the time when there was a hole in the Colony Church’s roof so big that daylight, as well as rain, poured in. People, visitors, stopped me on Bishop Hill’s main street to complain. That was very shocking. I hope the present situation isn’t as dire as that.

The Colony-era buildings of Bishop Hill and its immigrant history are cultural gems for state, national, and international pride. Therefore, I’m asking the DNR to do all that it can to preserve this legacy. Increasing funding for the Bishop Hill State Historic Site is a vital first step for preserving it for present and future generations.

Thank you for your time,
Mary Davidsaver

Todd DeDecker

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