Lest we hereabouts take New Salem for granted, Dr. Mark Pohlad of DePaul University brought from Chicago his passion for the reconstructed pioneer village to the “lunch and learn” audience at University of Illinois Springfield this week. Never mind that the reconstruction of the 1930s didn’t get all the locations and the details right, or the logs for the cabins true to the originals, New Salem is still a treasure. That’s not only because Abraham Lincoln lived there from 1830 to 1837, but also because it is one of the few representations of the dozens of pioneer villages that once dotted the landscape then soon disappeared. It is a beautiful place to stroll and imagine how things once were. But, Pohlad emphasized, this treasure is endangered from inattention. As Cinda Klickna noted in her article, “New Salem is getting old again,” (illinoistimes.com, May 9) the log buildings are rotting and the roofs are failing. It’s time for some serious money – perhaps from Gov. Pritzker’s capital program – to be invested in historic preservation there. Make New Salem new again. –Fletcher Farrar, editor and CEO

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