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PodCamp: Director of Landmarks Illinois Saves Historic Buildings

Frank Butterfield interviews with Isha Ramkumar
Katie Buck
NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS
Frank Butterfield interviews with Isha Ramkumar


Hello, I’m Isha Ramkumar for the 2018 Illinois Podcamp.

Frank Butterfield is the Director Of Springfield Office at Landmarks Illinois. He joined the organization in 2013 and leads the preservation of famous landmarks in Illinois.

Frank Butterfield got interested in this work due to a personal connection to the historic buildings.  

I have loved old buildings since I was a little kid. One of my favorite buildings, a movie theater in Park Ridge where I grew up, the Pick Wick Theater which is a 1920’s - just a grand movie palace - and I thought all movie theaters had sculptures and paintings, and that kind of just kept progressing as I got older.

Me: He seemed to enjoy his work immensely

 Well, I’m very lucky that my passion and my work are blended together. I’m very passionate about places, about people working to save the places that are important to them and that’s important to their stories, their families, their communities, what makes their city special. So I get to help people fix up the places that they really care about.

Me: In Frank’s career he has saved many historic buildings, but he has one that kind of sticks in his memory.

“ One of the ones I’m proudest of is there is a farmstead, a farm North of here, about a half an hour north of Springfield in green view called Marble Farmstead and it’s a story of Illinois. This is the 1850’s and a German family comes over there, immigrants, and they make their life here and so this farmstead which was near being lost, it was going to fall down in disrepair has the story of Illinois agriculture, has the story of immigration and what it means to come to America and try to make a new life.

Me: Frank loves meeting new people and his job provides him with that opportunity.

“I get to see a lot of Illinois, I get to travel to a lot of places, and a lot of people when they they think of Illinois, they think Lincoln or Chicago, and I have a pleasure of seeing all the little stories that make a place unique. You know those stories don’t mean anything without the people there who care about them, so I get to work with people and help them really elevate the stories that make them special”

Me: This has been Isha Ramkumar for the NPR Illinois Podcamp.

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  NPR Illinois PodCamp is an annual program teaching media literacy, civic education, journalism, and technical skills to aspiring students.

Isha is a 6th grader at Benjamin Franklin Middle School.
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