*This is an extended version of an article published in our June 2017 print newsletter, The Arch.
Landmarks Illinois video project, “People Saving Places: Stories About the Importance of Place,” shares the stories of people throughout Illinois involved in historic preservation efforts, and the positive impact of those projects. To produce the eight, short videos that are now part of the project, Landmarks Illinois partnered with four student interns from Kennedy-King College in Chicago as well as their dedicated teachers. The students, Cedric Barksdale, Monique Harvey, Jesse Ledbetter and Ennis Young, traveled around Illinois alongside Landmarks Illinois staff to capture footage for these videos. Below, the students share a bit about their experiences with this project. To view the eight videos they produced, visit our YouTube channel: www.YouTube.com/user/LandmarksIllinois.
What has been your favorite part of this video project?
The amount I learned about historic preservation. I learned how important this work is and how much it means to preserve these landmarks not just for ourselves but for the generations to come.
Meeting polished investors and preservationists has sharpened my knowledge as a person who wants to preserve a home that’s special in her life. Being on the road with my fellow interns this semester has also been memorable – they have taught me things about myself and skillset.
Interviewing people and hearing how passionate they are about preserving history. Several interviewees mentioned that other countries have done much better at preserving historic buildings than America. It is nice to see organizations and individuals working to preserve more places around the US.
I enjoyed the experience being a part of shooting and editing videos of historic landmarks.
How has your personal understanding of historic preservation changed or grown throughout this project?
It’s like night and day. Being a former realtor, I have been involved in many rehabilitation projects, but I was never involved in historic preservation projects. This was an awesome experience. The character in the places we have visited, you can’t get that in contemporary buildings.
My knowledge of historic preservation has grown after hearing how people took different paths taken to achieve their own preservation goals. I’ve learned about the multiple challenges as well as well as and fulfilling experiences involved in historic preservation. For example, being able to having an opening of a restaurant in a historic space, or a housewarming party in a newly renovated home, is motivation for this work.
I have learned that a lot more people are working toward preserving the past than I knew about. I learned that there are resources and organizations like Landmarks Illinois to help people save the places they care about. I also learned that with tax credits and other perks, it may be financially viable to purchase an older building and restore it.
I can see the passion and fire behind everyone involved in preserving landmarks in Illinois. Everyone takes pride in their landmarked buildings.
Was there one specific historic preservation story or project included in these videos that personally moved you the most?
I was really impressed with The Lone Buffalo in Ottawa. I saw some of the before pictures of that building before the renovation project – they did an awesome job. Just the effort, the commitment, that it must have took to get this project completed, it’s amazing. Their pride of place pulls you in.
I enjoyed learning about the process and endeavors people in our videos faced while completing their preservation projects. You can tell these preservations took time, money and ambition to finish. They all have had an impact on me, each in a different way. I can take what I have learned and use it to preserve my childhood home.
I was amazed with Clare Goerlich. She had so much energy and passion when she told her story of revitalizing nine historic houses in her Quincy neighborhood. She manages those nine rental unit houses with tenants by herself.
I didn’t have one favorite – I enjoyed them all. Everyone had a very important story to tell. I hope I did them justice with this project.
Pictured above:(From left-right): Kennedy-King College instructor Enid Wells; President of RBF Dome NFP Jon Davey; student interns Jesse Ledbetter and Ennis Young; Landmarks Illinois Communications Manager Kaitlyn McAvoy; Kennedy-King College instructor Laveta Moore, outside the Bucky Fuller Dome Home in Carbondale.