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State should reconsider closing Ernie Pyle site

Friday, July 2, 2010

To the Editor:

It is unbelievable that the State of Indiana is turning its back on Ernie Pyle.

Reasons given for closing the Ernie Pyle State Historic Site are because of the small number of visitors and the cost to operate it.

Perhaps the Governor should personally look at how the pie (budget) is cut by the Division of Museum and Historic Sites. For example, among the remaining historic sites, two memorials honor one person, Gene Stratton Porter, the author and naturalist. One site is near Rome City, and the other in Geneva.

It is easy to point out the recent low attendance at the Ernie Pyle Memorial, but the Division should also report the years of yearly attendance that were between four and twelve thousand.

A museum is not like the movie in which the farmer looked at his cornfields and dreamed of building a baseball field in the middle of nowhere. "Build it and they will come." A museum needs to be promoted. Chartered buses coming into neighboring Parke County "Covered Bridge Capital of the World" were encouraged to include the Ernie Pyle Memorial in their tour and then continue to the Beef House in Covington for a meal. The Memorial also drew tourists from Turkey Run and Shades State Parks and Cecil M. Harden Lake (Raccoon Lake).

How soon we forget those soldier boys who sacrificed their lives on the battlefields and Ernie Pyle who gave his life telling loved ones back home about them.

Evelyn Hobson

Former Manager, Ernie Pyle State Historic Site