Preservation and the Joliet Arsenal

6 May

by Regina Mangun-

Throughout this class, the topic of preserving historical landmarks has been a recurring theme. I have been on the fence trying to decide if I agree with preservation or if I believe it holds a community back. I certainly do not want to demolish areas and let their historical significance be lost, but I can see the dilemma in trying to preserve every little piece of history. With the preservation of historical landmarks, will there be room for ‘new’ historical areas? I have gone back and forth trying to figure out what I believe would be best, and then I learned about the Joliet Arsenal and the renovations it is undergoing.

The Arsenal was used during World War II and later wars for the manufacturing of weapons for the war effort. Many Illinois residents in that area were employed by the Arsenal, which created an economic boost for that region. The Arsenal was located in a prime area for easy access to transportation, which was beneficial for the distribution of weapons. Now, the land is being used for industrial purposes. Manufacturing and trucking companies are being built to create more jobs and another economic boost for the area.

I realized this news saddened me because I believe the Joliet Arsenal should have been preserved. It played an important role for the United States during World War II, and it especially had great historical meaning to the local communities. To see that land turned into an industrial park seems like a waste. I find it funny that when I do not agree with what will be done to a historical area I am pro preservation. However, when the plans for a new building spark my interest, I am suddenly torn about what should be done and what is right. I can definitely understand why historical preservation can be a controversial topic and how every circumstance is unique.


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