by Regina Mangun-
I grew up in New Lenox, Illinois, and I attended Schmuhl School for kindergarten. The building had been around since 1932 and officially became a part of the school district in the 1950s. In 2000, the school became a historical landmark and was moved from the southeast corner of route 30 and Schoolhouse Road to the northeast corner. I remember my grandma taking me to watch the school be moved across the street. Many people were present to show support for the historical society and the work they were doing to make the school a historical landmark. Today, the school has been restored and people can visit to see what it was like to attend Schmuhl School.
I am proud to be a part of the school’s history and am glad the building was preserved instead of being destroyed. In the case of this school, I think too much history would have been lost if Schmuhl School had been demolished. Many generations of New Lenox citizens attended that school. Today, classes go on field trips to the school and learn about its history. They may even learn that their parents or grandparents went to that school.
As I have mentioned before, I am hesitant when it comes to preservation and when it should be utilized. It is important to remember history and historical landmarks, but we do not want to live in the past! However, with Schmuhl School, I think it would have faded into the background history of the town if it had not been preserved and marked as a historical landmark. The area where the school used to sit has become a shopping center and continues to change with the times. I am glad that the school is across the street to serve as a reminder of how the town used to be.