By Cherri Gregg and Carol Erickson
COLLINGSWOOD, N.J. (CBS) — Some “Little House on the Prairie” fans are in an uproar after a plaque honoring South Jersey native Michael Landon was removed from a playground in Collingswood.
The bronze plaque was dedicated in 1997 and features a likeness of Landon from the ’70s. It was once part of a playground in Knights Park donated by Landon called “The Little Treehouse on the Prairie.”
Brett Ainsworth is a Landon fan who publishes the Retrospect, a small newspaper based in New Jersey. He says a Collingswood resident brought the plaque to his office last week saying someone found it in a dump.
Since reporting the story, Ainsworth says, he’s receive a number of calls from angry fans:
“There’s been a lot of outrage that it’s been carelessly removed. There’s some history there because a lot of people don’t feel that Mike Landon got enough recognition from Collingswood.”
Lennon Parker, who runs the web site prairiefans.com, says he will push until the plaque is restored to a location of prominence:
“This plaque was really nice and it was fine for all these years, so now everyone’s upset because they are ripping off Michael’s legacy — they’re throwing it in the dumpster.”
But Collingswood mayor Jim Maley says it is all a misunderstanding. He who says the plaque was removed from its place in Knights Park during a neighborhood cleanup back in November and had been placed in a storage facility.
“The playground area that it had been a part of had been dismantled, so it sat by itself on a two-foot concrete mantle and it was a hazard,” Mayor Maley told KYW Newsradio.
He says the plaque has been returned to the borough and it will again be placed in storage. He says the burrough is investigating who took the plaque from the storage facility last month. Maley says Collingswood will find an appropriate home for the plaque in the spring.
Landon died in 1991