Saturday, February 23, 2013

Money, Big & Small: Sine Qua Non* of Saving Reagan's Chicago Home

Dear Friends of President Reagan's Chicago Home:

I'll make this brief and to the point.

Major players are coming on board to help with fundraising, especially the overarching goal of raising significant funds needed to open negotiations with the University of Chicago to save President Reagan's Chicago home at 832 E. 57th Street and transform it into a museum and center.

Meantime, we are doing the final work of building the non-profit vehicle, the sine qua non, which takes much smaller funds. But, it does take funds - not just high-fives and 'atta boys and girls.' Our goal by the end of February is to raise $2000 more. Thus far, we have raised nearly $2000 over the last two months, including commitments to send money.  (And, we will need to raise $2000 more in March and April each.) We are deeply grateful to all those who have contributed thus far. Every little bit helps. No amount is too small.  (See right for information on donating.)

For those who are just tuning in, here's background on this national initiative, as well as our corporate purpose statement.

Finally, below are two photos, taken this week, showing the stately building where Reagan lived when he was four, now standing alone, like Reagan, himself, when he was a lone voice arguing for the defeat of Soviet Communism and the Liberal Welfare State.  But, he believed "It Can Be Done." The same exact spirit with which we are pursuing this mission to save Reagan's Chicago home.  Recently I have been encountering many who, in essence, tell me "It Can't Be Done."  With that defeatist spirit, it surely will not be done.  But, I remain convinced "It Can Be Done." Yet, time is short.  As the gentleman who took these photos, a key preservationist in Hyde Park told me, "Please remind your stalwarts that the Demolition Permit's administrative hold will expire in five weeks."

Let's win one more for the Gipper!

And, remember, no amount is too small.

Sincerely yours,
Mary Claire Kendall
Acting President/CEO
Friends of President Reagan's Chicago Home

* For those who are rusty on their Latin, "sine qua non" means "without which, nothing," which is to say, "the indispensable condition."

Saturday, February 9, 2013

"Win One More for the Gipper" and other press

Dear Friends of President Reagan's Chicago Home:

For anyone who's been paying attention, we've been in the news a bit the last two weeks.

Just this past week, our newest board member Dan Proft, mentioned the whole effort to save President Reagan's Chicago home on the air on Wednesday, February 6, during his regular morning radio show on WLS, an ABC affiliate in Chicago.

Plus, we had a few pieces out in print this week, as we celebrated Ronald Reagan's 102nd birthday, including:

"Win One More for the Gipper," by Nicholas Hahn.

"Ronald Reagan's Heart: Two Emotional Landmarks," by Mary Claire Kendall

"The real story on Ronald Reagan's childhood home," by Mary Claire Kendall

Double rainbow that appeared over the birthplace of Ronald Reagan
the night before his election as President in November 1981.
He kept this photo is the top of his desk, considering it a good omen.
Also, I appeared on the Teri O'Brien radio show on Sunday, February 3.  Here's the link. For my appearance, go to 90:00 mins. in to about 102:00. (A little feedback issue 91:00-94:00)

For those who are tuning in for the first time, here's background on this national initiative, as well as our corporate purpose statement. And, please note, if we do not succeed in our main mission, net donations will go to the other homes on "The Ronald Reagan Trail" in Illinois.

Thanks for all your generous support. Every little bit helps. Quite simply this initiative would not exist but for your donations. (See information to the right on how to contribute. And, for those who would like to wire funds, I would be pleased to facilitate this. Just give me a call.)

Sincerely yours,
Mary Claire Kendall
Acting President/CEO
Friends of President Reagan's Chicago Home, Inc.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Preservation Chicago Nomination & Donations Update

Dear Friends of President Reagan's Chicago Home:

Mr. Sam Guard of Hyde Park has nominated President Reagan's Chicago Home at 832 E. 57th Street for Preservation Chicago's annual "Chicago 7" list of endangered buildings.  (See nomination along with accompanying photos below.)

Also, you may now make donations to Friends of President Reagan's Chicago Home via credit card. (See secure USA E-Pay Donate portal at right.)

For those who are tuning in for the first time, here's background on this national initiative as well as our corporate purpose statement.

Thanks for all your support.  Have a great weekend.

Please note, I'll be on the Teri O'Brien Show at 6:30 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, February 3, just as the Super Bowl kicks off, to talk about our national initiative.  [2/3 update: Here's my appearance - 90 minutes in to about 102 minutes. (A little feedback problem 91:00-94:00)]

Mary Claire
Acting President/CEO
Friends of President Reagan's Chicago Home

Nomination:  832-34 East 57th St., a 1900s 3-story, apartment building of architectural and historic significance;  rated  orange by Chicago Historic Resources Survey.   Demolition permit filed 12/27/12 by Heneghan Wrecking;  currently on 90-day hold.
Architectural Merit:  A superior example of masonry construction designed to optimize a small corner lot (40'x50'), yet provide attractive housing by means of the skillful use of a variety of materials and decorative detailing.   I find the spirit of Burnham-era Chicago embodied in this vernacular yellow-brick six-flat.
    The first photo shows the triple-arched entrance trimmed in limestone set flush against the sidewalk with overhanging corner bays.   Sideview in 2d photo shows spacious windows accented with stone keys, springline, and belt-course sills. 
    Image 3557 shows pressed-metal ornamentation of overscale tourelle with Classic leaf festoons.   In Image 3560 a corbelled brick frieze can be seen beneath the projecting cornice supported by brachiolia.   I think this building spoke to tenants with aspirations ! 
    Attachment 5 is the building's Data Form documenting its listing in the seminal Chicago Historic Resources Survey.   Please observe the entry: "Noteworthy due to historical associations."   
Historic Association:  From 1914 to 1915 (possibly 1917) this building was the Chicago home of Ronald Reagan.   He mentioned it in his autobiography, letters, and conversations.   He recalled the Eastland capsizing, Cottage Grove streetcars, friendly neighbors.
    ... (President Reagan's) first trip away from Washington (after the assassination attempt) was to a Labor Conference in Chicago where (Mayor Jane) Byrne presented him with a framed picture of his Chicago childhood home.   The 5th photo (below), devoid of construction fencing, shows to us the stately & dignified & stately quality of this structure. 
Endangerment:  832-34 E. 57th now has been absorbed into a 217-acre Planned Development (#43 as amended Jan. 10, 2013).   The site is scheduled for a future medical research center.   A recent newspaper article attached here.  
    An affinity group with headquarters in Washington wants to save the building for Adaptive Re-use as a medical conference center, or administration offices, classrooms, etc.   They are interested especially in Alzheimer education & research.   I have told them that the excellent condition of the building will assure another 100 years of re-useful life.
    They incorporated Jan. 16th as Friends of President Reagan's Chicago Home, Inc.;  PO box 3772, Washington DC 20027-3772;  Telephone 301/625-4123.   They see this issue as one of national concern and, presently, are not affiliated with any local group.
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