Photo by Kristi Mitchell Photography

The Hoogland Center for the Arts board of trustees and staff were saddened to learn of the passing of our benefactor, Charles R. Hoogland. Mr. Hoogland was a dynamic force in Springfield, both as an entrepreneur and philanthropist.

Of course, his business acumen was legendary. He was the founder and CEO of Family Video. Starting in Springfield, he built Family Video into a chain of 800 stores with over 10,000 employees, becoming the third-largest video store chain in the country.

But it was his philanthropic side that made a lasting difference to our local arts community. It's safe to say that our beautiful community arts center would not be here today without the support of Charles and his wife, Kathleen.

The Center opened on Dec. 31, 2003, but didn't officially become the Hoogland Center for the Arts until later in 2004, when Charlie and Kay made a very generous, charitable donation, and the building was renamed in their honor. This donation came at a crucial time in our development and helped ensure the stability of the organization.

We extend our sincere condolences to Mrs. Hoogland, as well as their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

The support of the Hoogland Family Foundation has allowed us to continue to grow in our mission to serve the community over the years. We are forever grateful for their investment in Springfield.

Gus Gordon
Executive Director Hoogland Center for the Arts


With growing interest in taking down a statue and portrait of legendary U.S. Senator Stephen A. Douglas, and rearranging others, let me bring up a proposal I have raised in the past ("Michael-angelo Madigan," July 16).  As a former member of the Capitol Historic Preservation Board, I propose we better educate visitors on individuals who played significant roles in developing Illinois. 

Many state capitals have a museum focused on highlighting the history of government. Our acclaimed Illinois State Museum focuses more on natural history, the Presidential Library and Museum focuses attention on Abraham Lincoln. A museum dedicated to Illinois' historic figures is needed now more than ever. 

During the time of Abraham Lincoln's national rise, there was no more influential member of Congress than Stephen A. Douglas.  He was responsible for the western expansion of the United States. His compromise even brought bitter criticism by Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Similar to the constitutional compromise that allowed slavery in order to form the 13 colonies, Douglas struck a compromise allowing popular sovereignty for 17 states (anti-slavery) that would enter the union. Later, that western expansion allowed President Abraham Lincoln to gather support to adopt the end of slavery.

Last year, I was elated to see $122 million included into the state budget for renovation of the state armory. Converting the state armory into an Illinois history museum and welcome center should be considered now more than ever. I floated the concept with University of Illinois Springfield professors that felt it was perfect for internships.

Today's reexamination of celebrated images necessitates that a history museum be established. Let us all concur that Illinois has a history to learn from and not remove.

Tony Leone

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