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Reagan Childhood Home Will Not Be Demolished For Obama Library

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Jan 31, 2013 9:30PM

Fox News jumped on the inaccurate story.
One of President Ronald Reagan's childhood homes is due to be demolished, and it could be the future home of a parking lot for President Barack Obama's presidential library... or so says a columnist for conservative newspaper The Washington Times in a breathless, panicky editorial.

Indeed, it's just a rumor, although it is true that the home where Reagan lived for just one year as a small child is due to be demolished, having been been denied landmark status on more than one occasion.

The University of Chicago purchased the building in 2004, and it's been vacant since 2011. In December 2012 the school said the building at 832 E. 57th Street will become a grassy strip adjacent to a parking lot as part of school's expansion of the medical center. The Commission on Landmarks ruled the building “does not have sufficient architectural significance” and “is not associated with Mr. Reagan during his active and productive years.”

Yes, the university has been angling to become the future home of President Obama's presidential library, but the President hasn't chosen a state, let alone a site. A university representative told Mother Jones that the report inaccurate:

"832 E. 57th St. is one of a number of vacant buildings the University owns that will be taken down to allow for expansion of the medical and biological research campus," Jeremy Manier, news director at the University of Chicago, wrote in a email to Mother Jones. "The University's permit request currently is under review by the city. Recent media reports that have speculated on other potential uses of the property are inaccurate."

Reagan spent less than a year at the Hyde Park home from ages 3 to 4 in 1914 and 1915 before the family moved to Dixon, Ill. Reagan wrote some about his time there. The Sun-Times writes:

In a 1988 letter, he described watching horse-drawn firefighters “come down the street at full gallop . . . the sight made me decide I wanted to be a fireman.” He described surviving a near-fatal bout of pneumonia, playing with a neighbor’s set of lead soldiers, how his older brother was run over by a beer wagon and how they both panicked while his parents went out for groceries, left the house and got lost across the Midway.

The location of the home was unknown until a reporter dug up police records on Reagan's father, who was arrested several times for drunkenness. Reagan's other boyhood homes have been preserved, including his birthplace in Tampico and home in Dixon.