Tag Archives: Regina Mangun

Schmuhl School

6 May

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.

Oral History and Family Stories

6 May

by Regina Mangun-

In class we discussed oral history and then we were given an assignment to interview someone significant in our life. I interviewed my mother and asked her about growing up during the Civil Rights Movement. Some of the stories she told me I had already heard before, but I did not remember the exact details. I was glad to be recording because I knew that now I would always have that information available to me.

I enjoyed the oral history assignment because it made me realize the value of interviewing and recording someone’s history. We discussed in class how the information provided in the interview is not always factual and how a person who is not necessarily an educated historian is providing it. I believe that when conducting an interview, the emotion behind the stories is more important than how accurate the information is. Oral history offers the ability to hear an “average Joe’s” point of view, which people can relate with more, as opposed to trying to remember straight facts.

From my experience of interviewing my mother, I realized that there are a lot of family stories that will probably not be passed down because the next generation in my family has not heard them. My mother is the oldest of seven and I know that her younger siblings often ask her for clarification of family stories because they were too young at the time to remember it themselves. My family is very close and I am one of the older cousins. It occurred to me that some day my younger cousins might come to me asking about our family history and fun stories. I want to be able to share our family history with them, and I am going to try and use oral history to do that. I know that I personally have a terrible memory when it comes to retelling a story, but I am going to try and record some of our family stories so they can be shared for generations to come.

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.