Rally around Mumford House on South Quad

By Kevin McLoughlin

Students, faculty, and Champaign-Urbana residents linked hands around Mumford House Wednesday at 12 p.m., to protest the University’s proposal to move the 139-year-old farmhouse south of Windsor Road.

Approximately 40 people participated in the rally, primarily architecture students and local preservationists, although some faculty members were present. Tim Penich, second year graduate student in Architecture and president of the Society of Architectural Historians thanked participants before the human chain was formed around the building. Participants chanted “Save Mumford” before dispersing to discuss the issues at hand.

“You’re losing the tie to our past, of what an agrarian state Illinois was,” said Richard Cahill, former president of the Preservation and Conservation Association. Cahill suggested that the University find a use for Mumford House in its present location, such as an interpretive center for the history of the South Quad.

Others brought up concerns about the University’s motives.

“They say it’s because it’s in poor condition,” said Kim Garciss, second year graduate student in Architecture and treasurer of SAH. “But it’s in poor condition here and it’ll be in poor condition there.”

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    Gareiss explained that many participants believed that the University wants to move the building to allow pathways to be built around the McFarland Memorial Bell Tower. While the University has not explicitly stated this, Gareiss said that proposed plans showed pathways going straight through Mumford House’s current location. According to Gareiss the University has not denied these plans.

    Anthony Larson, junior in ACES and vice president of the Students for Environmental Concerns, said that it would cost around $2 million to renovate Mumford House. The additional cost of moving it would be an excessive investment, especially considering the state of the economy, he said.

    “Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s broken,” Larson said. “You can keep a historical property and make it sustainable.”