Chesterton Tribune

Activists work to save historic Dunes Read House

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Local environmentalists are looking to stop bulldozing efforts of the Dunes Read House on Tremont Road, proposed for use as a museum to tell the story of the Indiana Dunes.

The building is the site where 58 years ago area naturalists from as far as Chicago gathered and met to work to protect the scenic area from development. They recognized that the land adjoining Lake Michigan had species of plants and animals found nowhere else in the world and they had the vision to see that it would be protected for future generations to enjoy.

Their activist efforts led to legislation that led to the ultimate creation of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and made it possible for almost two million visitors annually to have access to the Lakeshore.

Today the environmentalists are working against the clock to have the now-vacant leaseback get listed on the National Register of Historic Places before the site is demolished.

On Saturday, an ad hoc committee of more than 20 concerned citizens was created to gather those who want to preserve the Dunes Read House on Tremont Road, north of Chesterton, which is within the boundaries of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. They have petitioned the keeper of the National Register of the National Park Service to list the site on the National Register of Historic Places. Their goal is that the Dunes Read House will serve as a venue for telling the story of the Indiana Dunes and how the Lakeshore was saved from complete industrialization.

The committee recognizes there is an urgent need to halt the proposed demolition which could start any time after Oct. 1, the day after the leaseback agreement expires.

Since 1956 the building has been the site of many strategy meetings of the Save the Dunes Council and Izaak Walton League. Philo and Irene Read lived there until 1981. Thereafter, their son, Herb, and his wife Charlotte moved into the house and have recently vacated since the leaseback will expire Sept. 30. Herb and Charlotte Read have currently moved into a new home at a different location.

Friends of the Lakeshore are being asked to write letters to U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, and U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, to petition the postponing of any demolition plans until the Historic Places appeal process is complete.

The work of preservation continues on many levels and across all generations. Everyone is encouraged to help preserve this historic site for future generations. For more information, contact Helen Boothe at (219) 916-4575.



Posted 9/29/2010