Reps. Weaver and Swanson speak up for local historic sites

SPRINGFIELD – State Representatives Dan Swanson (R-Alpha) and Travis Weaver (R-Edwards) spoke out recently to call for the state to commit funding to better maintain historic sites in northwestern Illinois. The Carl Sandburg Birthplace historic site is located in Swanson’s 71st District, and before redistricting Swanson represented the area around the Bishop Hill Historic Site, which is currently represented by Weaver in the 93rd District.

“In my area, it used to be part of my district, we have Bishop Hill that was just listed on the Most Endangered Historic Sites in Illinois, and Carl Sandburg Birthplace in Galesburg is in great disrepair,” Swanson said. “I’ve had both (Department of Natural Resources) Director (Colleen) Callahan, I’ve also had the Lieutenant Governor out to look at the sites, but we sure need some funding for those sites, and I would hope that if this legislation passed that this board will have the authority to help guide funding to the needed sites.”

Bishop Hill was listed this spring on Landmarks Illinois’ list of the Ten Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. The preservation group said the site was “threatened since the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has not been provided with sufficient funding to properly maintain the site.”

“State-owned properties like The Carl Sandburg Birthplace and Bishop Hill have been neglected and deprioritized for too long,” Weaver said. “I am optimistic this legislation will help these properties get the attention they need.”

Swanson’s and Weaver’s comments came during and after a House floor debate on Senate Bill 2976, legislation to create a State Historic Preservation Board to advise the Department of Natural Resources on ways to assist, protect, conserve and manage Illinois’ recognized State Historic Sites. Swanson and Weaver sought to ensure that historic sites be ranked in such a way that those sites ranked near the top would get priority for state funding. The bill passed, with both Swanson and Weaver voting in favor.

71st District residents can find more news about the General Assembly and information about upcoming events on Rep. Swanson’s legislative website at Rep. Weaver serves the 93rd District. For more information, visit his website at