People Saving Places Student Video Program

In 2016, Landmarks Illinois launched its “People Saving Places” student video program, aimed at engaging young people in preservation and sharing stories of Illinois’ residents saving places important to them, their communities and our state’s cultural heritage. The first phase of the video project resulted in eight, 3-5 minute videos created by a group of students from Kennedy King College in Chicago and released in the spring of 2017. Each video focuses on a specific preservation effort by Illinois residents in a specific city or town. In 2018, LI launched its second phase of the video project, this time focusing on the production of a single video about the Underground Railroad in Illinois. LI partnered with a student in the fall and winter of 2018 to create this video, which was released in the beginning of 2019. Read more about this program and each phase below.



In early 2019, Landmarks Illinois released a student-made short video that tells the important, yet sometimes forgotten, history of the Underground Railroad in Illinois. The roughly six-minute video, titled “People Saving Places: The Underground Railroad in Illinois,” focuses on three specific and documented Underground Railroad Sites in the state: the Owen Lovejoy Homestead in Princeton, the Sheldon Peck Homestead in Lombard and Quinn Chapel AME Church in Chicago.

Landmarks Illinois hired University of Chicago student Catalina Parra to create the video. Alongside Landmarks Illinois staff, Parra traveled to the Underground Railroad sites featured in the video in the fall of 2018 to film and interview subject matter experts. Parra was in charge of filming, editing and directing the video.

The video was made possible thanks to generous funding from Illinois Humanities, the Richard and Julie Moe Family Fund, a fund of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Patricia Joseph. Illinois Humanities funded Landmarks Illinois through its Forgotten Illinois Grant Program in 2018 – a program created for the state’s bicentennial to tell lesser-known stories of its 200-year history.

(Photo: Catalina Parra filming outside the Owen Lovejoy Homestead in Princeton.)

Watch the Video

Learn more about Student Filmmaker Catalina Parra

Landmarks Illinois asked Catalina Parra about her experience making this short video, what she learned about historic preservation and what’s in store for her next. You can read the full article and learn more about the student filmmaker by clicking below.

You can also see more of Parra’s work by visiting her website and her Instagram page @cat_purrra.

Meet Catalina

Production photos

See images from the making of our video!

Student filmmaker and director of the video, Catalina Parra.

Owen Lovejoy Docents Lois Peterson and Paul Ernst.

Catalina Parra setting up to film inside Sheldon Peck Homestead in Lombard, with experts Sarah Richardt and Jean Follett.

Catalina Parra filming Rev. James Moody inside Quinn Chapel in Chicago.

Corlis Moody sitting inside Quinn Chapel during filming.

"People Saving Places: Stories About the Importance of Place"


In 2017, Landmarks Illinois partnered with Kennedy-King College Media Communications Department on an exciting new video project to produce eight, short videos on people saving places in communities throughout Illinois. Landmarks Illinois staff and Kennedy-King College student interns traveled around Illinois during February and March of 2017 to capture on film the inspiring stories of people dedicated to historic preservation. These stories show how people are leveraging historic preservation to boost economic development, attract cultural heritage tourism and increase pride of place.

The video was made possible with generous funding from Illinois Humanities and the Richard and Julia Moe Family Fund, a fund of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

On April 21, 2017, Landmarks Illinois held a screening event at the historic Roxy Cinemas in Ottawa to showcase the eight videos produced by the students. The screening event included a discussion with the students on their travel experiences around the state to capture these inspiring stories. A reception at the nearby The Lone Buffalo in Ottawa immediately followed the screening. See photos from the screening event on our Flickr page. Visit the Landmarks Illinois YouTube Channel below to see the videos.

(Photo: Students Ennis Young and Jesse Ledbetter film inside the Bucky Fuller Dome Home in Carbondale.)

Watch the videos

Learn more about the Kennedy-King Student Interns

Hear from the four Kennedy-King College student interns who created this series of short videos. The students, Cedric Barksdale, Monique Harvey, Jesse Ledbetter and Ennis Young, traveled around Illinois alongside Landmarks Illinois staff and their teachers to capture footage for each video. Following the release of the videos, LI asked the students to reflect on their experiences and tell us what they learned through the project about historic preservation.

Meet the students

Production Photos

See photos from the students travels around the state to create these short videos with Landmarks Illinois.

Monique Harvey films inside Obed & Isaacs brewery in Peoria.

Students Monique Garvey and Cedric Barksdale talk with Ana Koval during filming in LaSalle.

Students film inside the historic Kaskaskia Hotel in LaSalle.

Jesse Ledbetter interviews Claire Goerlich in Quincy inside her home.

Jesse Ledbetter films at the Bucky Fuller Dome Home in Carbondale.

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