The city of Chillicothe is beautifully nestled on the west bank of the Illinois River along Route 29, which is the road that President Reagan traveled in order to reach Eureka College from his home. Reagan often stopped in Chillicothe as he had a fraternity brother and football teammate, George Taylor, who resided in Chillicothe. George became one of Chillicothe High School’s most successful … Read More
Welcome to the Historic Ronald Reagan Trail
A self-guided driving tour that celebrates the hometown values and heritage of our 40th President.
The Ronald Reagan Trail was officially designated by the Illinois General Assembly on May 21, 1999. For a glimpse of what made a common man into a great president, explore the Ronald Reagan Trail.
Ronald Reagan Trail Association
The Ronald Reagan Trail Association (RRTA) is comprised of citizens from the communities along the “Trail”. If you would like to be a part of this organization whose purpose is to save and nurture the Reagan heritage please contact us at the email addresses listed.
Where is the Ronald Reagan Trail?
The Ronald Reagan Trail is located in northwest Illinois.
Click below to get directions to the city along the trail nearest you.
Cities Along the Trail
Reagan's parents Jack and Nelle, moved to Dixon in 1920, when Reagan was 9 years old. Dixon is a beautiful old river town with a population of 15,000 and is the Petunia Capital of Illinois. The annual Petunia Festival is one of the premier festivals in the state and is held over the 4th of July holiday. The Victory Arch Memorial has greeted travelers on Galena Avenue since 1919. Sites to … Read More
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 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 … Read More
Ronald Reagan’s Maternal Grandparents Mary Anne Elsey Wilson was born in England and immigrated to the US to work as a domestic servant. Thomas Wilson was born April 28, 1844, in Whiteside County. Thomas and Mary Anne were married on January 25, 1866, in Morrison, Illinois, and had the following children: Emily, John, Jennie, Alexander, George, Mary, and Nellie Clyde. In the 1900 … Read More
Ronald Reagan moved to Galesburg with his family at the age of five. They lived in an apartment at 1260 N. Kellogg Street and later moved across the street to 1219 N Kellogg. He attended the Silas Willard Elementary School. Nancy (Davis) Reagan's stepfather, Dr. Loyal Davis, a well-known Chicago neurosurgeon, was born in Galesburg. Dr. Davis married Nancy’s mother in 1929 adopting Nancy who … Read More
Henry, along Route 29 and on the Illinois River, was surveyed in 1834 and named after General James D. Henry. 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 a least one occasion. Henry was an excursion stop for steamboats coming from Peoria, and the Henry baseball team played both … Read More
In 1918 the Reagan family moved from Galesburg to the beautiful maple tree lined streets of Monmouth. At the young age of 7, Ronald Reagan settled into the family home located at 218 S. Seventh St and began second grade at Central School. Jack Reagan supported the family by selling shoes at the prestigious E.B.Colwell department store at 208 S. Main St The building was added to the National … Read More
Ohio, a community of 550 citizens, is located on Route 26 of the Reagan Trail between Dixon and Princeton. During holidays and other breaks from Eureka College the Reagan brothers would ride as far north as Ohio in a big lumbering 1922 Buick with three college buddies from Walnut. Many times Ronald and Neil stood at the corner of routes 26 and 92 in Ohio thumbing a ride to Dixon. Historic Markers … Read More
Proud of its heritage, the Village of Peoria Heights celebrated its Centennial in 1998. It is the second largest municipality in Peoria County with 6,635 residents. The Village is the home of Grand View Drive, coined by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1910 as the "World's Most Beautiful Drive." Historic Markers and Monuments Bust of Abraham Lincoln Historic Markers and Monuments Next … Read More
On his travels to college, Ronald Reagan would pass through the 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. Princeton offers … Read More
Tampico, located on Route 172 was incorporated as a village on February 26, 1875, and was named to the National Register of Historic Places, Washington D.C. on June 2, 1982. Our 40th president, Ronald Wilson Reagan, was born in Tampico on February 6, 1911, in an apartment above a bakery on Main Street. The Reagan's stayed in Tampico off and on for the next nine years while Jack Reagan worked as … Read More
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 Trail. Three young Walnut men, Elvin “Pud” Fordham, Eddie Wilson, and Jeff Livey attended Eureka College and became friends with the Reagan brothers. The three Walnut youths shared ownership of an old faded gray Buick … Read More
Historic Washington has been brimming with character, small town values and 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 … Read More