All great change in America begins at the dinner table.
A self-guided driving tour that celebrates the hometown values and heritage of our 40th President.
President Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois. Of the three Illinois presidents, including Lincoln and Grant, Reagan was the only one born in the state. Tampico boasts the Reagan birthplace, reconstructed to the period and has the very bedroom where he was born. The site also includes a small town museum filled with Reagan memorabilia and collectables.
Dixon, considered by Ronald to be his hometown, is where he attended school and church, graduated from Dixon High, taught Sunday school, developed his early acting skills and saved 77 lives while working as a summer lifeguard at Lowell Park. Dixon boasts the Reagan Home, Dixon Historic Center which houses the famous "Jelly Belly" portrait, Wings of Peace with a Berlin Wall replica, the Reagan Way and other sites celebrating their connection to the President.
Eureka, at the Southern end of the Trail, is home to Eureka College. Here Ronald majored in economics, played football, furthered his drama skills and returned many years later to deliver his "Salt 2" speech, hailed by many to be the beginning of the end of the cold war. The campus features the site where the speech was given with a bust of Reagan, as well as an impressive museum dedicated to his life and legacy.
Other cities along the trail contribute their stories of the early Reagan. The school and first grade classroom in Galesburg attended by him is still in use today. This is the same town where his wife to be, Nancy Davis, grew up and attended school.
Accommodations ranging from Bed & Breakfast, to motels and hotels, and eating establishments from the Fast to Leisurely abound along the rural roads and scenic by-ways following the Illinois River.
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, visit the Ronald Reagan Trail.