UPDATE: Decision on Pyle’s Birthplace postponed

UPDATE – MAY 19th – Decision on Pyle’s Birthplace postponed

The state commission voted to table a controversial decision about what to do with the Ernie Pyle State Historic Site. Meanwhile, the doors to the site in Dana, Indiana, remain closed.
 
On the table is a decision that will allow the state to sell or auction off the historic property.  It is not unusual for public boards to postpone unpopular decisions with strong opposition, hoping the opposition will weaken or become worn down. The commission will reconsider the decision at its meeting November 16th of this year.

The opposition to the closing, led by a group called Friend of Ernie Pyle, hope to re-enter talks with the Department of Natural Resources in the meantime. They doubt that the fiscal concern cited by the state as the reason for closing is valid, saying most of the money for operation is provided by donations, admission fees, and gift shop sales at the site.

John Davis, speaking for the Department of Natural Resources says they are open to alternative arrangements, but the state does not want to continue spending state funds on operation and improvements. 

In the past the Department “deaccessed” two other historical sites, the birthplace of Wilbur Wright and Pigeon Roost, site of a historic massacre in 1812.

Read additional details Terre Haught Tribune-Star

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Home of Ernie Pyle being Disowned

posted May 17, 2010

Ernie Pyle Historic SiteThe State of Indiana has looted the Ernie Pyle home and memorial to add its contents to an Indianapolis museum.   Friends of Ernie Pyle and supporters have been trying to keep Ernie Pyle historic site open since the state, without warning, closed the property in early 2010 and removed the most valuable memorabilia.

Indiana Natural Resources Commission is now poised to give up ownership of the Ernie Pyle State Historic Site during a Tuesday, May 18th, meeting. The white farmhouse he was born in is in Dana, Indian, near Terre Haute.  Supporters favor keeping the state historic site open as the authentic site and tribute to the famous correspondent. 

Two NSNC columnists, Mike Leonard, Bloomington Herald Times, and George Smith, Anniston Star, have written columns on the subject. 

Mike Leonard cites misrepresentation of the costs associated with running the historical site.  The cost is a mere $14,000 (not counting income generated) in a $3.2 million budget.

“This is saddening, not only to the memory of Ernie Pyle, but for the dead – and the aging still living – that the balding little Hoosier wrote of so simply and eloquently in the war across Europe,” writes George Smith.

The historical site opened on April 18, 1995, the 50th anniversary of the day the legendary correspondent was killed by a sniper’s bullet on the tiny South Pacific island of Ie Shima.

The Indiana Natural Resources Commission meets at a public meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Roosevelt Ballroom at Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis.

This article draws information from columns by Mike Leonard and George Smith. Read these columns for additional information.

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