Lewis University’s History Center and the Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) held a ribbon cutting Nov. 16 at the historic Fitzpatrick House, located across from the University’s main campus in Romeoville on Route 53. The event celebrated the Fitzpatrick House as the new site for the Lewis University History Center and the Heritage Corridor CVB.
More than 100 people attended the event including numerous political officials and dignitaries from the area, the mayors of canal towns Romeoville, Lockport, and Morris, Illinois State Representative Emily McAsey (D-85th District), Will County Board Member Jackie Traynere, and representatives of the Donnelley Foundation.
Dr. Dennis Cremin, Director of the Lewis University History Center and Associate Professor of History, welcomed guests to view the new display of historic photographs and panel exhibit which tells a story of the development of the I & M Canal and its historical significance to the development of the region. Brother James Gaffney, FSC, Lewis University President, spoke of the new partnership with the Heritage Corridor CVB and the relocation of the History Center and special historic collections to the Fitzpatrick House. Mayor of Romeoville, John Noak, presented Robert Navarro, President/CEO of CVB with a plaque symbolizing the community’s welcome, and talked about how the relocation of CVB to Romeoville was consistent with their efforts with the Romeoville Historical Society and the Veterans Memorial tribute.
Wayne Draudt, Executive Vice President of Lewis University; Mayor John Noak of Romeoville; Kelly Klobucher, CVB Board Chair; Robert Navarro, President/CEO of CVB; Brother James Gaffney, FSC, President of Lewis University; and Dr. Dennis Cremin, Director of Lewis University History Center, participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Along the old Route 66, the Fitzpatrick House is a place to learn more about the area’s history through the Adelmann Collection and plan a trip along the I & M Canal National Corridor through the resources of the Heritage Corridor CVB, who opened a visitor center and office in the Fitzpatrick House in late August. The office is a valuable resource for visitors planning a trip or looking for relocation information. Office hours are from 9am-1pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
The Heritage Corridor CVB creates economic impact for the communities and counties along the Illinois and Michigan Canal through tourism marketing, promotion and development. The CVB operates visitor centers in Bolingbrook, Joliet, and Utica. More information is available at www.HeritageCorridorCVB.com.
In 2001, Lewis University acquired the Fitzpatrick House. The building was part of the homestead that included the original 170 acres of the campus, donated in 1920 to the Archdiocese of Chicago by Michael and Frances Fitzpatrick.
The Lewis University History Center seeks to unite scholars, students, and the public in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of materials linked to the history of the Upper Midwest. The Center strives to preserve and promote the region’s heritage (with a special focus on the Illinois & Michigan Canal) through the collection of historic documents and materials and promotion of research and activities involving core areas of public history.
Lewis University is a Catholic university offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to nearly 6,500 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally aware, and socially responsible graduates. The ninth largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.
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