The next meeting of the Calumet Heritage Partnership will be held Thursday, August 21, 7:00 p.m. at the Suzanne G. Long Local History Room, Hammond Public Library, Hammond, Indiana.
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CALUMET HERITAGE CONFERENCE: Plans are being finalized for this year’s conference to be held on Saturday, October 18, 2008, at Indiana University Northwest in Gary. This year’s conference is built on the theme, “Calumet Crossroads: Changes and Challenges in Regional Transportation.” It observes the centennial of the beginning of rail operations on the South Shore railroad across northwest Indiana and rolls that into a broader discussion of transportation pasts and futures in the region. A conference brochure will be mailed shortly, and you can also check for conference updates at our website.
LABOR DAY IN PULLMAN: CHP is a co-sponsor of an important Labor Day event, Monday, September 1, at 2 pm in Historic Pullman. The event will feature tributes and performances dedicated to early leaders in the history of the labor movement who had a special connection to Pullman, including Eugene Debs, Jennie Curtiss (who headed the local “girls'” union during the 1894 strike) and A. Philip Randolph. There will also be a tribute to Franklin D. Roosevelt and the 75th anniversary of the New Deal. Admission is free. For further information, contact Tom Shepherd at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-928- 3040 or visit http://members.aol.com/PullmanIL/events.html. Other co-sponsors are the Pullman Civic Organization, Illinois Labor History Society, Historic Pullman Foundation, Chicago Black History Society, Illinois AFL-CIO, Pullman State Historic Site, Chicago Metro History Project, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, and. A. Philip Randolph Institute.
CALUMET STEWARDSHIP INITIATIVE EDUCATOR’S CONFERENCE: CSI’s third annual educator’s conference, Conserving Calumet: Teaching Green, was held August 6th and 7th at Chicago State University. Navigate tohttp://www.calumetstewardshipinitiative.org for photos and videos of the event.
CALUMET INTERNS: This summer, five college students (three from Purdue-Calumet and one each from Valparaiso and Chicago State) were members of the first Calumet Higher Education Internship program. The program is a result of collaboration among area universities and intends to foster a cadre of environmental educators familiar with many aspects of the Calumet region. While students each worked in a different area organization, they came together on Thursdays to learn more about each particular organization’s work. On July 18, CHP hosted the interns, and took them to the South Chicago Historical Museum, to the USX site, and to the Florence Hotel and Administration Building at the Pullman State Historic Site. Many thanks to Rod Sellers (SCHM), Nasutsa Mabwa (McCaffery Interests), and Mike Wagenbach (PSHS) for making each site visit a success, and to Rod for conducting a tour of key historical sites.
A QUARTER MILLION AND COUNTING: The latest statistics from the Pullman Virtual Museum web site show that our Acme Collection has received more than 268,000 “hits”, a nice sign that the collection is serving a useful purpose in the virtual (and real) world. Be the 269,001st to see the site at http://www.pullman-museum.org/ihaccr/.
A DIFFERENT PORT OF CALL? When the National Park Service conducted its Calumet Ecological Park Feasibility Study in 1998, among the options it studied was the new kind of park first devised in the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor, where management and ownership would depend on local units of government and other entities rather than the Park Service itself. At the mouth of the Calumet River and in the Lake Calumet area that entity is the Illinois International Port District. The Port District has certainly had its critics over its fifty-seven year history, and now comes a new report from one of the most credible critics of all. The Civic Federation, a non-partisan research and advocacy organization, released a report on June 30 advocating that the port district be disbanded and its functions distributed to other entities. The report may be found at http://www.civicfed.org/articles/civicfed_273.pdf It bears close reading by ecological park and heritage corridor advocates.
It remains to be seen exactly how the report will enter discussion about the future of the region. But, from the CHP point of view, the report’s recommendation to transfer open land on the Port District’s property to the Forest Preserve District of Cook County is very interesting, to say the least. The 360 acres of open land owned by the Port District forms a huge part of the “important resource area” marked out in the Park Service’s 1998 feasibility study. It’s also in the City of Chicago’s Calumet Area Land Use Plan of 2002 and is also incorporated in Forest Preserve Commissioner Mike Quigley’s “Make No Small Plans” report of that year. It also forms a physical link between the Pullman Historic Site and the Calumet wetlands, which is a nifty combination that advances CHP’s goals of preserving the natural and cultural heritage of the region.