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DUTCH: A Tribute to a Great Illinoisan
Several excerpt from The Ronald Reagan Trail ^ | June 7, 2004 | BillyBoy

Posted on 06/07/2004 4:49:24 PM PDT by BillyBoy

DUTCH: A Tribute to a Great Illinoisan

There are so many Reagan tribute threads on FR after his recent death, that I decided mine better be pretty unique. After all, we've seen the same photos, quotes, and highlights over and over again. This is a special thread dedicated to my fellow Illinois freepers and to all Illinois conservatives. People often think of Reagan as a "Californian" -- simply because he rose to power in Hollywood. But the first -- and ONLY -- President born in the great state of Illinois was Ronald Wilson Reagan. Throughout his life, he lived in Illinois, Iowa, and California, but Illinois was the place dearest to his heart. Hence, a tribute to Ronald Reagan, Illinoisan.

Ronald Reagan, The ONLY President born and raised in Illinois


I edited this memorial bio together from several online sources covering Reagan's early years.

Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on February 6, 1911, in a small apartment above a bank in the small town of Tampico, Illinois, to parents John "Jack" Reagan and Nelle Wilson Reagan. Like many other boys growing up in the Midwest after the turn of the century, Ronald was of primarily Irish descent. His father was a tough Irish-American shoe salesman and his mother was of Scottish-Irish descent. He had only one sibling, an older brother named Neil.

Jack Reagan's forebears had come to America from County Tipperary by way of England during Ireland's potato famine and he was endowed with the gift of blarney and the charm of a leprechaun. Nelle Wilson, the future President's mother, was of Scots-English ancestry. She met and fell in love with Jack shortly after the turn of the century in one of the tiny farm towns that were planted on the Illinois prairie by pioneers as they moved westward across the continent during the nineteenth century. They were married in Fulton, Illinois, about forty miles from Dixon, in 1904.

Neither Jack nor Nelle had received much formal education in their lives. In fact, both of them had attended grammar school for only a few years. Jack had attended the American School of Proctipedics to earn his diploma in shoe sales. Throughout Reagan's childhood and adolescence, Jack dreamed of owning his own shoe department store. For the most part, however, the Reagan family was a poor family, barely able to make ends meet much of the time. On the other hand, Reagan later wrote that what his parents lacked in formal education, they made up for in "street smarts."

Reagan's delivery was a difficult one and his mother was informed that she shouldn't have any more children. So that left four of them - Jack, Nelle, and Neil, who had been born two years earlier.

According to family legend, his father ran up the stairs and looked at his newborn son, he quipped: "For a fat little Dutchman, he sure makes of a hell of a lot of noise, doesn't he?" To which his mother Nelle replied "Yes Jack, but who knows, he might grow up to be president some day." During Nelle's pregnancy, his parents had decided to call him Donald. But after one of her sisters beat her to it and named her son Donald, their son became Ronald. The young child never thought "Ronald" was rugged enough for a young red-blooded American boy and as soon he was able to speak, asked people to call him "Dutch." That was a nickname that grew out of Jack calling Ronald "the Dutchman" whenever he referred to the infant.

Tampico, the place where Dutch was born, had a population of only 820. There was a short paved main street, a railroad station, two or three churches, and a couple of stores, including the one where Jack Reagan worked. When Dutch was still a baby, the Reagans moved from the flat above the bank into a house facing a park in the center of Tampico that had a Civil War cannon flanked by a pyramid of cannonballs. Reagan later recalled that his first memory was of crossing the park with his brother on our way to an ice wagon that had pulled up to the depot. As pair of toddler’s intent on plucking some refreshing shards of ice from the back of the wagon, they crawled over the tracks beneath a huge freight train that had just pulled in. The small boys barely made it when the train pulled out with a hissing burst of steam. Nelle Reagan, who had come out on the porch in time to see the escapade, met them in the middle of the park and inflicted the appropriate punishment.

When Reagan was two, the family moved east to Chicago, where Jack had gotten a promising job selling shoes at the Marshall Field's department store. They moved into a small flat near the University of Chicago that was lighted by a single gas jet brought to life with the deposit of a quarter in a slot down the hall. After they'd been in Chicago for less than two years, Jack was offered a job at O.T. Johnson's, a big department store in Galesburg 140 miles to the west of Chicago, and the Reagans moved again, this time to a completely different world. Instead of noisy streets and crowds of people, it consisted of meadows and caves, trees and streams, and the joys of small-town life. In his biography, Reagan noted it was at that point that he became partial to small towns and the outdoors.

World War I started when while the family was in Galesburg. Like almost every other American during those years, six year old "Dutch" was filled with pride every time he heard a band play "Over There". There were some days when everybody in Galesburg dropped whatever they were doing and rushed down to the depot to cheer on a troop train passing through town. The train windows were usually open to the air and the doughboys would be in their khaki uniforms and would wave to the Reagan boys; who waved back and cheered. One time in Galesburg, Nelle Reagan gave her son a penny, which he in turn gave to a soldier, saying in his tiny voice, "Good luck."

What little money Jack Reagan earned as a shoe salesman was often squandered on his drinking binges. As an adult, Reagan would say of his boyhood, "We didn't live on the wrong side of the tracks, but we lived so close to them we could hear the whistle real loud." But the future president appeared to gain wisdom from his meager beginnings, later reporting, "...I learned the real riches of rags."

Not long after the war ended, the Reagan moved yet again, this time back to Tampico, because Jack had lost his job in Galesburg but was offered the job of managing the same H.C. Pitney General Store he was working at when Dutch was born. They moved into an apartment above the store. The owner, Mr. Pitney, who wasn't so much a merchant as an investor, liked Jack Reagan, and promised that as soon as he could, he would try to help him become part owner of a shoe store. After a year or so, they packed up all their belongings and headed for Dixon, where, keeping his promise, Mr. Pitney had decided to open a swank shoe store called the Fashion Boot Shop with Jack as his partner.

Before moving to Dixon, Dutch had been a rather introverted boy. He enjoyed playing quietly by himself with his tin soldiers. He especially enjoyed reading books on natural history. In his memoirs, Reagan later recalled that as a child he had read his favorite book on wolves so many times that years later he could still recite the entire book word for word. He supplemented these books with a small collection of mounted butterflies that had been given to him.

The family eventually settled in Dixon when Dutch was nine years old. At the time in 1920, Dixon was a settlement with nearly ten thousand people -- more than ten times larger than Tampico. As President, he later recalled his years in Dixon as "the happiest years of my life" and believed that the small town of Dixon, Illinois, had been the perfect place for him to spend his adolescence. Everyone knew each other and helped each other in times of need. Ronald also made friends in Dixon, and spent many days tromping through the woods surrounding the town, swimming and fishing in the Rock River, trapping muskrats, and getting himself into fair amounts of mischief.

0n the eve of the Fourth of July, when Dutch was eleven, he somehow managed to obtain some prohibited fireworks, including a particularly powerful variety of firecracker known as a torpedo. As he approached the Town Bridge that spanned the Rock River one afternoon, I let a torpedo fly against a brick wall next to the bridge. The ensuing blast was appropriately loud, but the boys savored it, a car pulled up and the driver ordered me to get inside. Dutch had been taught not to get into automobiles with strangers, and refused. When the man flashed a police badge, Dutch got in the car. Then he made a second mistake: As they drove away, he remarked, "Twinkle, twinkle little star, who in the hell do you think you are?"

At the police station, Dutch was taken to see the police chief, who had spent a lot of time playing pinochle with his father. But he promptly called Jack and told him that, friendship or not, he had to pay a $14.50 fine, which was big money in 1922. It later took the boy a lot of odd jobs to pay off the debt to his father. He also got himself into a fair number of fistfights with the other boys. Because of the frequent moves, Dutch didn't make many, if any, lasting friendships. Instead, he looked to family for company, as did the other three Reagans. As a result, the four became a tightly-knit unit.

Dutch wasn't entirely a ruffian, however. In fact, by that age he had become fairly devout and had decided for himself that he wanted to be baptized a Disciple of Christ. His mother, Nelle, was also a Disciple of Christ, but had never pressured her sons into becoming disciples themselves, in part because she believed that each person should have the freedom to determine his or her own faith, but also because her husband Jack was Catholic. Fortunately, the religious division in the family never caused any friction, but merely taught Reagan that not everyone had the same beliefs. Nelle did, however, instill in her sons her own sense of propriety. She firmly believed in helping those less fortunate than herself and even more strongly believed in prohibition. Nelle Reagan instilled in her son her belief in the essential goodness of all people and the importance of religious devotion. She encouraged Ron to participate in Disciples of Christ church activities and doctrine. Young Ron was especially drawn to the sect's strict abhorrence to alcohol. Not yet a teenager, Reagan honed his public speaking skills drumming up support for Prohibition. Ironically, Jack himself was an alcoholic, but Nelle never blamed him for what she believed to be his "sickness." Dutch chose to become a disciple partly because a character in one of his favorite books, The Printer of Udell's, was a pious Christian. Ronald remained a religious man all his life.

Vaudeville was big entertainment in Dixon. One day Nelle helped Dutch memorize a short speech and tried to persuade him to present it that evening at a reading, but he resisted. His brother Neil had already given several and had been a hit; in fact, he could sing or dance with the best of them and a lot of people in Dixon thought he'd end up in show business. But Dutch was shyer and told his mother that he didn't want to do it. Yet there was something competitive enough in Dutch to try and rival his brother so he finally agreed. Summoning up his courage, he walked up to the stage that night, cleared his throat, and made his theatrical debut. Years later, Reagan said he couldn't "remember what I said, but I'll never forget the response: People laughed and applauded. That was a new experience for me and I liked it. I liked that approval. For a kid suffering childhood pangs of insecurity, the applause was music". Although he didn't know it at the time, when he walked off the stage that night, my life had changed.

By the time the brothers were in high school, both had taken to calling their parents by their first names. Dutch entered Dixon High School in 1924, and at age thirteen worshipped football more than anything else in the world. His older brother was already a starter on the team and had a teammate, Winston McReynolds, who was his closest buddy and they were so inseparable the other players began referring to Neil as "Moon" and Winston as "Mushmouth" - the names of the two lead characters in the "Moon Mullins" comic strip. Neil's nickname stuck and, from then on, about the only person who ever called him Neil was his mother.

Dutch weighed 108 pounds and stood only five feet, three inches tall when he was thirteen. After a long moment, the Dixon H.S. football couch he said he would see if he had a uniform to fit the boy. For the next several days he waited anxiously for the coach to announce the team roster, but when the day arrived, the name "Ronald Reagan" wasn't on it. Dutch was terribly disappointed.

When the following summer came, he hadn't grown much larger than the year before and decided he had to do something fast to build up my muscles for the next season. Dutch got my first job - at thirty-five cents an hour - working with a pick and shovel to help build and remodel houses in and around Dixon. When September arrived, the high school football conference established a new division for smaller players weighing up to 135 pounds and Dutch was elected captain of the team, playing tackle and then guard. By junior year, he had shot up to five feet, ten-and-a-half inches and weighed over 160 pounds. Although he made the varsity, by mid-season, he was still warming the bench. Then one Saturday morning, the coach, who had decided he was unhappy with the playing of one of the first-string guards, read off the starting team and said "Right Guard - Reagan."

About his second year in high school, Reagan got one of the best jobs he ever had: lifeguard at Lowell Park, a three-hundred-acre forested sanctuary on the Rock River named for the poet James Russell Lowell, whose family had given the property to the city. He'd taken a course on lifesaving at the YMCA and when an opening for a lifeguard came up, he went to his old employer in the construction business and told him he I was going to have to quit. For the next seven years, he worked seven days a week, ten to twelve hours a day, for $15 a week and one of the proudest statistics of his life is seventy-seven - the number of people he saved during those seven summers.

In the 1920s, fewer than seven percent of the high school graduates in America went to college, but Dutch was determined to be among them. He was drawn to one college in particular. One of Dixon's biggest heroes had been the husky son of the minister at Reagan's church. He'd gone to Eureka College and become an huge football celebrity there.

There were fewer than 250 students when Reagan was accepted in Eureka in 1928, roughly divided between men and women, and everyone knew one another by their first name. Later, when Reagan entered politics, he was accused of majoring in extracurricular activities at college. Technically, that wasn't true. His major was economics. But it is true that he thrived on school activities - although his expectation of sweeping onto the campus and becoming an overnight football sensation was, to say the least, not fulfilled. Instead, he tasted another type of combat - his first foray into politics.

In the autumn of 1928, the stock market crash and the Great Depression were still a year away. But in the Midwest, farmers were already feeling an economic pinch, and Eureka, which drew much of its support from the region, was feeling the impact in the form of smaller donations to its endowment. To make ends meet, Bert Wilson, the new president, decided to lay off part of the faculty and impose other cuts. When the students and faculty got wind of the plan, resentment spread over the campus like a prairie fire because cutbacks meant many juniors and seniors wouldn't be able to take classes they needed to graduate. On the Friday afternoon before Thanksgiving, when students usually began their pre-holiday exodus, no one left the campus. A student committee was formed to consider the possibility of calling a strike and student government member Ronald Reagan was elected to represent freshmen on the committee. That Saturday night, the committee waited while trustees met to ratify the president's cutbacks. When they came out of the meeting, their expressions told us the decision had been made; the ax was going to fall.

Reagan stood to present his committee's proposal for a strike. Giving that speech - his first - was the most exciting moment in his life up to that time. For the first time ever, the student body audience would roar with approval after every sentence. When he called for a vote on the strike, everybody rose to their feet with a thunderous clapping of hands and approved the proposal for a strike by acclamation. A week after the strike began, Reagan had mounted so much pressure that Bert Wilson resigned as president. The strike ended, and things returned to normal at Eureka College.

During his junior year, Reagan's drama teacher took it upon herself to get Eureka invited to a prestigious one-act play contest at Northwestern University. For college actors, the competition was comparable to the Super Bowl. For their entry, she selected Aria da Capo, a one-act play that was set in ancient Greece. Reagan played a shepherd strangled before the final curtain by Bud Cole, his football teammate, fraternity brother, and one of his best friends at the time.

To their delight, Eureka placed second in the competition and while they were relishing this success, it was announced "Aria da Capo" was one of the three performers who had been selected to receive individual acting awards. Afterward, the head of Northwestern's Speech Department, the sponsor of the contest, called Reagan into his office and inquired if he'd ever thought about making acting a career. "Well, no" Reagan blurted out. "Well, you should", he replied.

By his senior year at Eureka, his secret dream to be an actor was firmly planted, but in the middle of Illinois in 1932. Hollywood and Broadway were at least as remote from Dixon as the moon was in 1932. But not Chicago -- the nation's hub of radio broadcasting. Radio had created a new profession - the sports announcer. Broadcasting play-by-play reports of football games, people like Graham McNamee and Ted Husing had become as famous as some Hollywood stars and often they were more famous than the athletes they reported on.

During his years at Eureka, Reagan appeared in 14 plays, including Aria de Capo in 1931 in which he was cited for character portrayal in national competition. He won several other prestigious acting awards, too. He lettered in football, swimming and track. He was the College's leading swimmer, and served as captain of the swimming team for his last two years. He played guard on the football team, lettering three years. He served two years on the Student Senate, becoming president his senior year. He was also an active member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, yearbook editor and was elected Booster Club President President of the Boosters Club, a cheerleader for the basketball team, and held a campus job in the dining hall all through college. He graduated in 1932 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and sociology.

After his graduation in June, Reagan went back to Lowell Park for another summer so he could save some money and begin paying back his debt for overdue tuition. At summer's end, he hitchhiked to Chicago to hunt for a job as a radio announcer -- during the middle of the great depression. He was met rejection everywhere he went, sometimes practically laughed out the door -- usually without even an interview. "In Chicago," the program director of NBC radio told him, "we can't afford to take people without experience."

Reagan went back to Dixon and applied for a job as manager of the sports department at a Montgomery Ward that had just opened in town. Because of his success in sports in high school and college, thought he had the job wrapped up, but was turned down. He then began traveling across the Midwest looking for a job in radio. At station WOC in Davenport, he gave my usual pitch about my willingness to take any job to get a start in radio. "Where were you yesterday?" the man demanded. He said he did have any opening for an announcer and held auditions for it the day before. "The job's filled. Where ya been?" the man asked as if Reagan were a little backwards.

In a daze, Reagan left his office and headed for the elevator, shattered by the bad luck. "How the hell," he said as he walked away, quietly, but loud enough for the man to hear, "can you get to be a sports announcer if you can't even get a job at a radio station?" He reached the end of the hall and pushed the elevator button. As the door opened, the man shuffling towards him, then a raspy voice, asked "What was that you said about sports announcing?" Reagan told him he wanted a job as a sports announcer because he played football for eight years in high school and college." "Could ya tell me about a football game and make me see it as if I was home listening to the radio?" the man asked. "I'm sure I could" said Reagan. He looked at the microphone and improvised. The guy told him that he did great -- but the station didn't have an opening. He promised that as soon as something came up, he'd contact Reagan, but with the Depression growing worse daily, he sounded as if there wasn't much hope.

The winter of 1932-1933 was very cold. Like a lot of other people in Dixon, Reagan spent Christmas and New Year's out of work and without prospects. The only job on the horizon was another summer of life guarding at Lowell Park. In February, however, he got a telephone call that changed everything: Pete MacArthur said one of WOC's two staff announcers had quit and he offered Reagan his job, starting at $100 a month. "I'll be in Davenport tomorrow," Reagan promised.

Before long, during the depths of the Depression, he was earning seventy-five dollars a week and gaining the kind of fame in the Midwest that brought in invitations for speaking engagements and provided extra income to help out his parents. His station soon merged with another, largest station, and later he was transferred to the Iowa's biggest station, WHO is Des Moines. After he started broadcasting the Cubs' games, he concocted a plan to escape part of the frigid Iowa winter by offering to accompany the team to its annual spring training camp.

On a 1937 trip to California to cover baseball spring training, Reagan took a screen test for Warner Brother’s film studios. It led to his first part in a Hollywood movie. The role seemed tailor-made for Reagan; he played a radio announcer in Love Is on the Air. Upon seeing her son on screen for the first time, Nelle Reagan proclaimed, "That's my boy...that's my Dutch. That's the way he is at home." And the rest is history. Over the next two decades he would appear in 53 films; and in only one did he play a villain. And then, following his retirement from movies in 1964, came a new life in politics. But through it all, Dutch Reagan, radio announcer, movie star, corporate spokesman, governor, and President, never forgot the small town roots where he found himself. "Everyone has a place to call home" he once said, "And for me, it's Dixon in Lee County, Illinois"


The Illinois state leadership medallion honoring President Reagan, issued by the state Treasurer in 1999. Reagan is one of only five Illinoisans to be honored with such a medallion, including Abraham Lincoln and U.S. Grant, the two other Presidents from Illinois.

This is an excerpt from the official Reagan state trail site ( ), which can be used to follow in Reagan's footsteps and track historical locations and other host cities that are part of the Reagan legacy.

Dixon, Ill.
Population: 16,144. Slightly under 10,000 when Reagan lived there during the 1920s. Dixon is a thriving community serving as the county seat of Lee County in the heart of northwest Illinois. At the hub of four major highways and one interstate, Dixon is the economic center of the county and an important focus for agriculture, industry, service, retail, recreation, and residential growth. Dixon’s history dates back to the year 1828 when Joseph Ogee settled at the site of what is now known as Dixon. Two years later, John Dixon came to the area, purchased Ogee’s land claims and continued the establishment of a settlement by operating a ferry across the beautiful Rock River. In 1832, a young Abraham Lincoln marched up the Rock River Valley at the head of the Sangamon County Volunteers. He and his troops were mustered in at Fort Dixon to fight in the Blackhawk Indian Wars. Fort Dixon was located on the north bank of the Rock River and the spot has long been marked with a bronze statue of young Lincoln. Former President Reagan grew up in Dixon; a number of Reagan sites including the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home remain as popular attractions for tourists.
Reagan’s parents, Jack and Nelle, moved to Dixon in 1920, when Reagan was 9 years old. The Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home at 816 S. Hennepin is restored to its 1920 condition and decorated with furniture typical of the period. Family activity extended beyond the house to the barn where “Dutch” and his brother “Moon” raised rabbits. The boys also played football on the side yard with their friends. Visitors can tour the home along with an interpretive visitor’s center next door.
Dixon Historic Center
Dutch attended the South Side School, later known as the South Central School. The school, currently under renovation, will be the home of the Dixon Historic Center and will feature displays depicting the life of Ronald Reagan. The center is located along the historic Ronald Reagan Way on Hennepin Avenue. First Christian Church
Reagan’s brother Neil was baptized a catholic, but Ronald and his mother attended the First Christian Church where Nelle taught Sunday School. The 150 year old church is located at the corner of 2nd Street and Hennepin Avenue, across from City Hall.
Dutch was something of a river rat. He swam, paddled and skated most of the distance between Dixon and Grand Detour. He took a life saving course at the South Side YMCA and received certification as a life guard. Dutch worked as a life guard at Dixon’s magnificent Lowell Park on the banks of the Rock River where he saved 77 lives.
High School Years
Ronald was Dixon’s “Model Boy” during his high school years. He was elected president of the North Side Dixon High School student body, officer of the Dramatics Society, art director of the “Dixonian”, wore the purple and white varsity jersey and earned his letter in football.
Best Western Reagan
443 IL Rt. 2
Hotel, banquet rooms, outdoor pool, restaurant. Reagan stayed here while campaigning for re-election in 1984.
Reagan Trail Days
August 13 - 14, 2004
Dixon kicks off its 5th annual Reagan Trail Days to honor its favorite son, Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States. This event starts on Friday evening with the "Reagan Ball" with the theme "Dixon, a place to go back to", taken from the Reagan movie "A Hasty Heart". Saturday is filled from morning till night with historic trolley tours of the Reagan sites including the "Boyhood Home", Dixon Historic Center featuring the Reagan 5th grade classroom and "Jelly Belly Portrait", Lowell Park where he saved 77 lives, a car show along "Reagan Way" and many other events, contests and entertainment. "Reagan Trail Days" will run concurrent with another Dixon celebration commemorating the commissioning of the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier. Illinois delegates to the commissioning have been invited to attend, along with Dixon and area residents.

Tampico, Ill.
Tampico, located on Route 172, was incorporated as a village on January 16, 1875, was issued a certificate of incorporation August 1, 1894, and was named to the National Register of Historic Places, Washington D.C. on June 2, 1982.
A Future President is Born
Our 40th president, Ronald Wilson Reagan, was born in Tampico on February 6, 1911, in an apartment above a bakery on Main Street. At his birth, his father, John (Jack) Reagan commented that “For such a little bit of fat Dutchman he makes a hell of a lot of noise, doesn’t he?”. Thus the nickname “Dutch” was given to Ronald.
Reagan Family History in Tampico
The Reagans stayed in Tampico off and on for the next nine years while Jack Reagan worked as a clerk in the Pitney Store. Ronald and his brother Neil “Moon” attended school and enjoyed summer activities such as swimming in the Hennepin Canal and horseback riding. Reagan Apartment and Museum
Today, visitors will enjoy a step back in time as they tour the birthplace of President Reagan. The Reagan Apartment is decorated as it had been when the Reagans lived there in the early 1900s. Memorabilia of Reagan’s childhood, acting career, and terms in office can be viewed at the Visitor’s Center below the apartment.
Dutch Diner
A visit to Tampico would not be complete without a piece of homemade pie at the Dutch Diner located just a few doors down from the birthplace. Large country style home, family oriented and child friendly, pool table, exercise room. Full breakfast from Dutch Diner menu. Also of interest is the Hennepin Feeder Canal where the Reagan boys learned to swim. The Canal, one mile east of town, is now a bike path and recreation area. 2-3 hour visit. Bed and Breakfast available.

Walnut, Ill.
Originally named Walnut Grove in 1837 the Village of Walnut, population 1500, is still graced with many walnut trees. The friendly community is located along Route 92 of the Reagan Trail, 7 miles west of Ohio and 13 miles southwest of Tampico. Today, Walnut is home to Avanti Foods, producer of Ginos and Swiss Party frozen pizzas. Avanti is located in a Swiss Chalet building in downtown Walnut and invites the public to view pizza production and browse through the cheese and gourmet shop. Tours by appointment.
Family friends.
Three young Walnut men, Elvin “Pud” Fordham, Eddie Wilson and Jeff Livey attended Eureka College and became friends with the Reagan Brothers. The 3 Walnut youths shared ownership of an old faded gray Buick purchased for $10. The big Buick would hold 10-11 students, including Ronald and Neil Reagan on trips from Eureka to see sporting events at Peoria, Bloomington and Normal. Ronald Reagan stayed overnight in Walnut with his college buddies during one of their holidays from college.

Princeton, Illinois
Princeton, population 7,501, is best known however, for it’s antiquing, and visitors will be pleasantly surprised with the selection of antique malls and quaint shops. The Bureau County Historical Museum, the Victory Civil War Monument towering over the Court House Square and the historic Lovejoy Homestead take visitors back in time.
On his travels back and forth to college, Ronald Reagan would pass through this unique community of Princeton. The early Massachusetts settlers’ influence is reflected in Princeton’s picturesque architecture, stately homes, and comfortable tree-lined streets. Historically, many Princeton homes were part of the underground railroad which gave shelter to many runaway slaves before the Civil War.

Henry, Ill.
Henry, along Route 29 and on the Illinois River, was surveyed in 1834 and named after General James D. Henry. Henry was an excursion stop for steamboats coming from Peoria, and the Henry baseball team played both the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox. The town with tree-lined streets and stately old mansions, at one time was a favorite location for gathering clam shells from the river for button making. Henry is home to several fine restaurants including the “Landings” located on the beautiful Illinois River. The city has a very active marina with top-of-the-line boat docking facilities.
Besides Ronald Reagan visiting Henry and traveling through town dozens of times on the way to and from Eureka College, Abraham Lincoln spoke to the citizens on at least one occasion.

Peoria Heights, Ill.
Proud of its heritage, the Village of Peoria Heights recently celebrated its Centennial in 1998. It is the second largest municipality in Peoria County with 6,635 residents per the 2000 Census. The Village is the home of Grand View Drive, as coined by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 as the "World's Most Beautiful Drive." Tower Park, situated next to Village Hall, has a 500,000 gallon water tower which boasts a giant woodpecker. The water tower has a one-of-a-kind outside glassed elevator that transports tourists up to 180 feet above the Village to three observation decks allowing for a 40-mile panoramic view of the Illinois River Valley.
Also situated next to Village Hall, is a bust of Abraham Lincoln sculpted by Gutzon Borglum, the renowned sculptor known for creating the Presidential faces on Mount Rushmore. There are only three of these sculptures of Lincoln in the world. the other two are located in the Rotunda in Washington, D.C. and Lincoln's Tomb in Springfield, Illinois. Prospect Road , a major thoroughfare through the heart of the Heights' motto is "A Good Place to Live and Do Business." 1 day visit.

Peoria, Ill.
Peoria, Pop. 108,364, is one of the larger cities in Illinois and located on the banks of the Illinois River and is at the heart of an area that offers a wealth of attractions, events, historical sites, shopping and artistic venues throughout the county’s communities. Over 300 years ago, the Native Americans and French traders who called our river valley home referred to the area as Pimiteoui or “fat lake” because of the riches of the river. Today that tradition continues through riverfront development, a bustling downtown Peoria, and much more.
Peoria is home to nationally known Bradley University which regularly played basketball and football against nearby Eureka College during the 1920s and ‘30s. On October 3, 1930, Eureka played a football game against Bradley at Peoria with Ronald “Dutch” Reagan playing right guard for Eureka the entire game in a losing 27-6 Bradley victory. Reagan and his college buddies traveled to Peoria to attend sporting events on many different occasions during the 1928-1932 era.

Eureka, Ill.
Eureka, population 5000, is proud to be the college alma mater of President Ronald Reagan.
“Dutch” entered Eureka College in the fall of 1928 where during his four years he lettered in football, track, and swimming as well as being active in theatre before earning his degrees in economics and sociology. He was in student government and became the president in his senior year. Reagan was also a member of the dramatic fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Sigma.
Today, President Reagan’s legacy can be felt all around Eureka College. The Ronald Reagan Museum is housed at the Donald B. Cerf Center , located on the campus. The exhibit contains over 2,000 items from Ronald’s college days, his movie career, his eight years as governor of California, his campaign for the presidency and his two terms in office. The items came to the college in 1975 at the request of President Reagan. Additions have been made regularly since that time.
The “Reagan Peace Garden” commemorates President Reagan’s “Eureka Speech” to the graduating class of 1982 where he announced for the first time his goal for a Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). This speech is considered the beginning of the end of the cold war. This garden contains a bust of President Reagan and a portion of the Berlin Wall. You can also visit the Reagan Fieldhouse where the famous speech was given.
Other significant sites are present in the city such as his Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, which is now a private residence. Spend a day in Eureka enjoying our historical sites, restaurants, shops and parks. Stay for an hour or stay for a day and live President Ronald Reagan’s Eureka Experience.

Washington, Illinois.
Washington celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2000, and the community pride is still evident in the beautiful historic homes and downtown buildings. Downtown’s Washington Square still thrives with unique restaurants and quaint shops, including Amish furniture, sewing and quilting goods and all manner of antiques, gifts and collectibles. Coffee shops and tea rooms near the fountain are popular downtown gathering spots, as well as an old church now occupied by a fine dining establishment. For visitors, Washington offers lodging, shopping, two golf courses, bowling, recreation trails and hundreds of acres of parks. Day long visit, overnight accommodations available.
Historic Washington has been brimming with character, small town values and a rich heritage since before Ronald Reagan first visited the town. While in Washington D.C., President Reagan once sent greetings with an associate coming to visit Washington, Illinois. The leader of the most powerful nation on earth noted that he had often traveled through downtown Washington as he hitchhiked back to college!

Galesburg, Illinois
Population: 33,706.A city tied to Illinois by rails with one of the largest railroad yards in the United States. This railroad city has much to experience. Galesburg’s overnight accommodations offer true convenience to out-of-town guests. There are meeting facilities to adequately accommodate groups of up to 800 delegates. Unique and interesting restaurants await the opportunity to have you sample their food. Galesburg is easily accessed by way of Interstate 74 and the Amtrak rails. Galesburg is home to Carl Sandburg’s birthplace - a state historic site, “Old Main” located on Knox College campus is the only building still in existence where a Lincoln-Douglas debate took place in 1858,.
Ronald and Nancy Reagan:
Few communities can claim they have been a childhood home to both a president and first lady. In 1916, the future fortieth President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, moved with his family to Galesburg when he was 5 years old. Years later, President Reagan's future wife Nancy Davis spent many vacations from school at her grandparents' home in Galesburg. Ron, his father,"Jack", mother, Nelle and brother, Neil rented an apartment at 1260 North Kellogg Street in Galesburg's northern residential sector, soon after moving across the street to 1219. Ron and Neil attended Silas Willard Elementary School , a few blocks from their home. According to his report card, young Ron was a good scholar, earning high marks in every subject. The Silas Willard School is still used in the Galesburg School system and looks much the same today as it did when Ron and Neil attended there.
Dr. Loyal Davis, Nancy’s Stepfather
Dr. Loyal Davis, a well-known Chicago neurosurgeon, was born in Galesburg. In 1910, the Davis family moved to 219 Walnut Avenue. Loyal attended Weston School and graduated from Galesburg High in 1912. He then attended Knox college for two years. Dr. Davis married Nancy's mother in 1929. Soon after he adopted Nancy. Nancy spent many vacations from school at the grandparent's Walnut Avenue residence.

Monmouth, Illinois
Population 9,841. Named for the Revolutionary War battle in New Jersey. Aside from Ronald Reagan, well-known residents have included: Wyatt Earp, lawman, born at 406 S. Third St. Monmouth was started when Congress offered land tracts to veterans as payment for their military service. One veteran bet his tract of land in a New Orleans poker game in 1827. Unfortunately, the veteran lost and a Kentucky plantation owner named John Talbot came away from the table with a warrant for a section of land in the Illinois Military Tract. Talbot and his cousin, Allen Andrews arrived to settle on the land he won and constructed a one-room cabin eight miles northeast of the present city. Talbot was so pleased with the new land that he sent word back to his friends in Kentucky, and in 1828 a group of them came to see for themselves. Monmouth College has an enrollment of almost 1,000 students for 1995-96.
Meet the Reagans
The Reagan family occupied three different residences in Monmouth, Illinois between 1917 and 1919, when the great influenza epidemic struck. The flu hit Nelle, who very nearly perished. Ronald Reagan might never have become president if his mother lost her life that winter. She was that much of a formative figure.


Reagan Physical Education Center [1970]
Eureka College
300 E. College Avenue, Eureka, IL 61530
Originally dedicated in 1961 as "The Reagan Center," in honor of both Ronald Reagan and his brother Neil. Constructed to house all of Eureka College's athletic facilities. Acquired its present name in 1970.

Reagan Drive [1979]
Eureka, IL
Runs along the southern edge of Eureka College, Reagan's alma mater

Ronald Reagan Birthplace National Historic Site [1980]
111 S, Main Street, Tampico, IL. 61283
Locally operated. includes a museum and a gift shop, which are located next door to the building in which Reagan was born. Dedicated by President George W. Bush as a "national historic site" in February 2002.

Ronald W. Reagan Leadership Program [Established in 1982; began with students in the Fall of 1983.]
Eureka College
Eureka, IL. 61530

Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home [1984]
816 S. Hennepin Ave. Dixon, IL. 61202
Ronald Reagan lived in this house during part of his teenage years (1924-1928). It is now locally operated as a Museum.

Reagan State Park [1985] (Formerly Railroad Park)
104 Glassburn Street Tampico, IL

Ronald Reagan Bridge [1989]
Galena Ave, just south of IL Rte. 2 (2nd Street).
Dixon, IL

Ronald Reagan State Museum / The Reagan Center [1994]
Eureka College Eureka, IL. 61520
A permanent exhibit covering Ronald Reagan's entire life. Reagan State Museum at Eureka College is nearly the largest library of Reagan memorabilia in the nation, second only to the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. The Illinois collection features a collection of over 2,000 items from President Reagan's student days at Eureka, his movie and television career, his eight years as Governor of California, his campaign for presidency, and his two terms in office. At the request of Mr. Reagan, the first items in the collection came to the College in 1975, and it was officially dedicated as a state museum in 1994. It is now the largest unofficial Presidential collection in the nation.

Ronald & Nancy Reagan Research Center [1995]
Alzheimer's Association of America
919 N. Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL 60611

Ronald W. Reagan Middle School [1996] (Formerly named Madison School)
620 Division Street Dixon, IL. 61021

Ronald Reagan State Trail [1999]
Dixon, IL to Monmouth, IL. Follow in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan.

Ronald Reagan National Peace Garden [1999]
Eureka College Eureka, IL. 61520

Reagan Way [2002]
Dixon, IL 61021
From the Reagan Boyhood Home to the banks of the Rock River, where Reagan worked as a lifeguard and saved 77 lives

Ronald Reagan Highway [2004]
U.S. Highway 14; runs from Chicago north to the Wisconsin State line.

TOPICS: Activism/Chapters; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Philosophy; US: California; US: Illinois
KEYWORDS: dutch; dutchreagan; illinois; inmemory; potus; reagan; ronald; thegipper; tribute
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1 posted on 06/07/2004 4:49:24 PM PDT by BillyBoy
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To: RedWing9; GRRRRR; Land_of_Lincoln_John; NotJustAnotherPrettyFace; justshutupandtakeit; ...

Bronze Statue of President Reagan at his boyhood home in Dixon, IL

2 posted on 06/07/2004 5:06:34 PM PDT by BillyBoy (George Ryan deserves a long term...without parole.)
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To: BillyBoy

God Bless Ronald Reagan bump!

3 posted on 06/07/2004 7:20:52 PM PDT by RWR8189 (Its Morning in America Again!)
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To: BillyBoy
BB: Great work. No, make that brilliant work. I have a pic on my digital of the "Ronald Reagan" Highway sign on Waukegan Road. FReepmail me if you need it.

Did you see my modest Illinois Reagan posts? I think I have all of them with the keyword "dutchreagan." LOLJ

4 posted on 06/07/2004 7:21:19 PM PDT by Land_of_Lincoln_John
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To: BillyBoy


5 posted on 06/07/2004 7:24:33 PM PDT by Fiddlstix (This Tagline for sale. (Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: BillyBoy

Great tribute great history great man
thanks for posting this

6 posted on 06/07/2004 7:28:21 PM PDT by LauraJean (Fukai please pass the squid sauce)
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To: Peach; Mo1; Miss Marple; Iowa Granny; cyncooper; Howlin; Dog

What a great thread, lots of info on Reagan's youth. Thanks for the ping



7 posted on 06/07/2004 7:30:11 PM PDT by prairiebreeze (Several hundred million men, women and children from former Soviet Union, live today due to Reagan)
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To: BillyBoy

A fine posting , time well spent, I learned a lot. The highway shown in the last picture, not that it matters much, is in reality the cross county expressway in Cincinnati, where Reagan is equally revered.

8 posted on 06/07/2004 7:53:36 PM PDT by nkycincinnatikid
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To: Land_of_Lincoln_John

Yes, thanks for posting those things on Reagan's history link to Illinois. It gave me the idea to do this thread. I'm very happy to see people are finally posting on my thread after I spent two days working on it and finally posted it this afternoon.

All freepers should visit in Illinois and learn what made young Dutch grow up to be Ronald the Great!

9 posted on 06/07/2004 8:17:00 PM PDT by BillyBoy (George Ryan deserves a long term...without parole.)
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To: prairiebreeze

Thanks for the ping; lots I didn't know.

10 posted on 06/07/2004 8:20:42 PM PDT by Peach (The Clintons pardoned more terrorists than they ever captured or killed.)
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To: BillyBoy
You're you still need the pic?

No disrespect to the Cali FReepers, but Reagan was an Illinois guy too.

11 posted on 06/07/2004 8:27:54 PM PDT by Land_of_Lincoln_John
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To: BillyBoy

Two months ago I was pleased to take my daughter to the birthplace of the greatest President of modern times.
Tampico, Illinois now posts a booming population of 400 - located about 10 miles southwest of the thriving metropolis of Sterling-Rock Falls, Illinois. The museum is privately run by a very dedicated couple whose love for Dutch Reagan is very evident as they proudly give a personal tour with many personal anecdotes. If any Freepers find themselves in this heartland of Americana, I'd highly recommend the side-trip to Tampico (pronounced Tampaco - not Tampeeco {someone alert Bill O'Reilly as he thinks it's pronounced like the city in Mexico})
While his birthplace home is spartan by today's standards, it was far from poverty stricken for the times.
As an aside, the apartment didn't have indoor plumbing and believe it or not, while they don't know the exact location of the original Privey, the gentleman running the museum says that a group of interested archeology buffs (pardon the pun) have expressed the desire to begin researching and excavating to locate it! Guess they'd be looking for the first Presidential diapers.

12 posted on 06/07/2004 8:34:54 PM PDT by Froggie
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To: prairiebreeze; BillyBoy
A Beautiful Tribute to President Reagan

Thank you BillyBoy for putting it together

13 posted on 06/07/2004 8:50:45 PM PDT by Mo1 (Make Michael Moore cry.... DONATE MONTHLY!!!)
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To: BillyBoy

This is a really nice thread- Good job!

14 posted on 06/07/2004 10:31:27 PM PDT by mafree (God rest the soul of President Ronald Reagan)
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To: Coleus

Some photos here...

15 posted on 06/07/2004 10:33:16 PM PDT by nutmeg (God bless President Ronald Reagan)
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To: BillyBoy
Hmmmm...are any of you thinking what I am thinking?

16 posted on 06/07/2004 10:36:53 PM PDT by Plutarch
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To: BillyBoy


Good job BillyBoy! Thanks for all your hard work.

17 posted on 06/08/2004 7:31:50 AM PDT by TheRightGuy (ERROR CODE 018974523: Random Tagline Compiler Failure)
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To: BillyBoy

You really did a lot of work Bill and it turned out great. Thanks and GOOD WORK!

18 posted on 06/08/2004 7:50:24 PM PDT by cfrels
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To: prairiebreeze
Does this mean I have to get you all a picture of the Part of the R Trail I drive every day from sparland to Peoria?
19 posted on 06/08/2004 8:43:48 PM PDT by dts32041 (What is the exit strategy for Europe and Japan ? - I don't think there was one, we are still there..)
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To: BillyBoy


20 posted on 06/08/2004 9:46:54 PM PDT by Brad’s Gramma (God Bless America)
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