The article on the destruction of Leland Farm House broke my heart ("Historic Old Leland Farm House scheduled for demolition," Aug. 12).
I grew up in Clinton. In 1940, Fortune magazine covered that then-thriving and energetic town in a lengthy article, complete with photographs and beautiful illustrations. The buildings and places featured are now long gone. So much has been torn down, I've joked that eventually there will be a hole at the junction of Route 51 and 54 where Clinton used to be.
I do not understand the indifference to history here in Springfield. Residents of nearby Petersburg and Virginia seem more respectful of their heritage. I've been to Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia, towns no more rich in history than Springfield yet that have chosen to nurture and preserve their pasts – thus creating a link between those who lived yesterday and those who will live tomorrow.
The indifference of Springfield is tragic. Was there not a mayor somewhere along the line with a vision to elevate the town's history? Was there not a single city council who thought it worthwhile to preserve the magnificent beauty of old Springfield? Sadly, the answer is all too clear. We have not chosen the paths of Charleston or Savannah, but that of Clinton.
FOR A BIG YARD?
If you want a big yard, then buy a property with an existing big yard to stare at. Regardless of whether the home is listed as a historical property or not, you're choosing to destroy history with no regard for anyone and simply to feed your own fragile ego.
My ancestors, the Lathams and Southers, were good friends with the Lelands and Noble Wiggins. One of my cousins has a photograph of them all sitting together at the Leland Farm House. Our people were the bankers and title specialists that helped develop Jerome and Leland Grove. When the Leland Hotel burned down, my great-grandfather sold subscriptions to get it rebuilt.
BACK TO SCHOOL
I admit: I've been worried. And, unlike in the past when I've reserved most of my worries for the kids in our community who don't have advocates and advantages, this time I've been frightened for my own kids, particularly the one still too young to get the shot.
I'm feeling a little better after today. I had a long conversation with the principal of the school my two youngest attend, and she carefully outlined the many health and safety measures she and her staff will be taking this year. She made it clear that the safety of students and teachers is her top priority, and that everyone in the building is ready to do whatever it takes to keep the kids safe and healthy.
I still wish remote learning were an option, and I'll still be nervous until younger children can get vaccinated. But I'm relieved by what I heard, and I want to thank our teachers and administrators in District 186 for the countless hours of extra work they've put into dealing with this crisis that has completely redefined their job descriptions with little warning. I'm grateful for how thoughtfully they've approached planning for in-person school this year.
I write this in full knowledge that my family is in a better position than many. Illinois is now under a statewide K-12 mask mandate, and our district voted to start the school year with universal masking even before the governor announced the new rule. I feel for the parents wondering if they should even send their kids to school in districts where masks aren't required and where politicians are attempting to use their power to enforce business as usual, all evidence and statistics to the contrary. Some face difficult choices. Many others have no choice but to send their children to school, no matter how great the risk.
We owe our children so much better.