Courtney Hicks
Publish Date

On October 6, 2023, UIS graduate students Amy Kapp, Hayley Goebel, McKenna Servis, and Kaitlin Pottier presented their research into the problems and prospects of The National Register of Historic Places in Illinois, at the 2023 Conference on Illinois History at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. This included research into various locations that either require listing edits to provide more accuracy for the public, or locations that are yet to be registered. In this case, students worked towards drafting a proposal for their respective location, including its history, on why it should be submitted into The National Register of Historic Places in Illinois. This work was done under the supervision of UIS Associate Professor Devin Hunter's course HIS 515 Historic Preservation and Cultural Resource Management, in collaboration with Amy Hathaway of the Illinois State Historic Preservation Office.  

Amy Hathaway, National Register and Survey Specialist, shared the importance of having graduate students' interest in the National Registry and in facilitating dialogue in the community. “Students tend to be enthusiastic about their projects and that enthusiasm can be contagious.  The projects themselves tend to be interesting, but it is the passion the students have about them that helps engage the community and spur discussion,” she says. 

Some of these students expressed personal experiences with their chosen locations. Amy Kapp, who presented on the Dana-Thomas House of Susan Lawrence Dana, located in Springfield, Illinois, stated that her internship at the site inspired research into its history and listing. This led her to finding mistakes written within the listing, which she sought to correct. Similarly, McKenna Servis, who presented on the Arlee Theater located in Mason City, Illinois, expressed personal connection to the site. “Fields trips and family movie nights were frequent when I was growing up and I still attend movies there now. The theater and its owners have given me so many amazing memories, I thought they would be the perfect place to help submit paperwork for the national register,” McKenna expressed. Kaitlin Pottier was also already familiar with her landmark, which was the Macoupin County Jail in the Carlinville Historic District. “I grew up in Carlinville and was unaware that the downtown area was listed on the NR. Finding the mistake on the listing for the third county jail was kind of an accident. I initially set out to learn more about the ‘notorious lynching’, but I discovered the fire instead. The fire was in June 1860, so I reviewed microfilm from several Carlinville newspapers. This is how I learned who Xenophon Calaphemal was, why he was arrested, and how he died. I am expanding this research for my closure thesis,” Pottier shared.   

This experience helped students find the underlying history of such landmarks that are otherwise overlooked. "My experience choosing the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse was certainly taboo, I chose a site I thought would be quick and easy. Coming to learn more about the lighthouse, I realized it was, and is, rich with history,” Hayley Goebel expressed. Such experiences are found in landmarks around the world; this course allowed students like Amy, Hayley, Kaitlin, McKenna to work firsthand with the registration process, learn the history of their selected landmark, and preserve it in the national registry! Congratulations to these students on their conference presentations!