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Help Keep The Vandalia State House Open


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I was on the phone yesterday with the Director of Tourism in Vandalia, Illinois. She informed me that funding is being cut to keep the Old Capitol open. She sent me the following media release to share:




For Immediate Release Contact: Mayor Ricky Gottman

September 22, 2008 618-283-1152 Office

618-267-9788 Mobile


Vandalia, Ill...Mayor Ricky Gottman encourages area residents who are concerned about the Governor’s recent budget cuts to historic sites to contact state legislators immediately to help restore these funding cuts.


Governor Blagojevich has slashed $2.8 million from the historic sites division within the IHPA budget, which funds the operation of historical sites including the Vandalia State House. Because of this action, the Vandalia State House is scheduled to close on November 30.


“The Vandalia State House is a living educational library and a long lasting symbol of Illinois’ heritage,” said Mayor Gottman. “With the Bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth coming up in 2009, it is vital that the State of Illinois keep open the very sites that will tell the many visitors to Illinois the story of Abraham Lincoln’s life, especially that of his life in Illinois.”


Mayor Gottman also reinforced the importance of the Vandalia State House to the local tourism industry.


“The Vandalia Statehouse is vital to the economic prosperity of our community and region, drawing over 30,000 visitors annually,” said Gottman. “Fayette County showed the highest percentage increase in 2007 for tourism of all Southwestern Illinois Counties and the Vandalia State House is large part of that.”



“The City of Vandalia is near completion of our ‘Looking for Lincoln’ project which includes the display of 10 storyboards in the downtown area near the Old State Capitol. These wayside exhibits portray how Abraham Lincoln left his traces in the folklore, buildings, streetscapes and landscapes of Vandalia. It would be a shame if the facility is closed when the City introduces these attractive exhibits.”


Mayor Gottman has assembled an advisory group of dedicated citizens who are working to develop ideas to help keep the Vandalia State House open. In addition to working with the advisory group, Mayor Gottman has sent letters to state officials asking them to restore the Governor’s budget cuts.


“I strongly encourage our local citizens to call or write state legislators to oppose the Governor’s harmful budget cuts.”




If you wish to write a letter encouraging officials to restore the funding to keep the Old State Capitol open you may do so by contacting any one (or all) of the following:


Governor Rod Blagojevich

207 State House

Springfield, IL 62706


217-557-1733 Fax


Rep. Michael Madigan

Speaker, House of Representatives

300 State House

Springfield, IL 62706


217-524-1794 Fax


Rep. Tom Cross

House Minority Leader

316 State House

Springfield, IL 62706


217-782-7012 Fax


Senator Emil Jones, Jr.

Senate President

327 State House

Springfield, IL 62706


217-782-3242 Fax


Senator Frank Watson

Senate Minority Leader

1355A State Route 127

Greenville, IL 62246


618-664-9112 Fax


Rep. Ron Stephens

State Representative – 102nd District

112A Executive Dr.

Highland, IL 62249


618-651-0413 Fax

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I'll send my letters tomorrow. I'm a big fan of old U.S. 40 in IL and have cruised past the building numerous times....Bliss




Your letter will be much appreciated!




I received a reply yesterday from IL Senator Frank C. Watson who agrees that the Governor's actions in this matter are "outrageous." He also said he would do everything he could to prevent the Old State House closing....Bliss

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I received a reply yesterday from IL Senator Frank C. Watson who agrees that the Governor's actions in this matter are "outrageous." He also said he would do everything he could to prevent the Old State House closing....Bliss

That's good to hear. I feel guilty that I didn't even get my letters out until several days after you had already received a reply but I did finally send them this morning.


Note that, even if they close the place, you'll still be able to cruise by. You just won't be able to look inside and get that sense of early Illinois government. If, through the efforts of Sen. Watson and others, it is open when you next pass by, consider taking a stroll inside and maybe dropping a buck in the jar by the door.

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Oh crap :(


I'll be connecting with the Tourism Director in Vandalia again and will find out what else might be done in the future. My guess is that we'll need to keep sending letters -- since the "squeaky wheel" gets the grease. More to come.




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