Residents fight to keep Lindbergh site openby Ambar Espinoza, Minnesota Public Radio
Little Falls, Minn. — Residents in Little Falls are sending local legislators letters, emails and petitions in a campaign to keep the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site open.
The aviator's boyhood home is one of three historic sites the Minnesota Historical Society could shut down because of budget cuts.
Little Falls Mayor Cathy Van Risseghem said people want the museum to stay open, at least part time. Van Risseghem said the tourists drawn to the Lindbergh site play a key role in the local economy.
"They're coming to the restaurants, they're getting gas here, they're spending the night, they're shopping. That type of thing affects an economy greatly, and so this is our major concern," Van Risseghem said. "Lindbergh is our history. This is a part of who we are, and have been for many, many years."
The governor has proposed a 15 percent cut in historical society funding. Nina Archabal, director of the Minnesota Historical Society, said no part of the institution is immune from these cuts, but it will continue to care for the Lindbergh site if it should close.
"We would protect it from vandalism, from any kind of property damage that we could protect it from," Archabal said. "We would take care of heat, light, electricity. These are costs that are part of our responsibility, part of the public trust we hold for the people in Little Falls and for the people in Minnesota."
The museum could close as early as July 1. The Lindbergh family donated the property to the state of Minnesota in 1931. The Minnesota Historical Society has operated the site since 1969.