Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Maisenbacher Goes Regional

Not just a local story anymore.

SPRINGFIELD (LEE) -- Here in Abraham Lincoln's hometown, history and politics often intersect.

And a two-story antebellum house on wheels sits at that intersection today - blocking traffic downtown, stoking tempers at City Hall and making some well-intentioned history buffs think twice about their latest cause.

The episode has disrupted more than just traffic in this capital city, which has often been accused of failing to preserve its own history. The issue comes to a head at City Council meeting tonight, at which Conn will press the city to provide $280,000 in tax-increment financing to pay for a foundation on which to set the house.

Even now, crumbling, dilapidated and perched on a relocation platform over massive wheels, the 3,200-square-foot brick structure is impressive. Like a lot of historic homes around here, it's got a name - Maisenbacher House - and a story: Lincoln is said to have loaned a Springfield neighbor $650 toward its construction in the

None of that, of course, explains how it came to be parked in the middle of Jackson Street, behind ''road closed'' barriers and orange plastic fencing, for the past two weeks. That part of the story is more complicated, and more expensive.

One minor quibble here. Or maybe it’s just a question since I don’t drive downtown all that often. Is having the house parked on Jackson really "blocking" or "disrupting" traffic? How much traffic does that block of Jackson really see? Not much I’m guessing, except maybe for some cut-over traffic. Traffic really isn’t even much of consideration here compared to the issue of cost.

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