I’ve lived in Illinois for several years, and have driven the Lincoln Highway in these parts a few times. As noted in the previous post, navigating the highway is very easy to do in this state thanks to its excellent signage. There’s some memorable points along the route that one should check out once the traffic of Chicago is far behind you, and these are my personal highlights of this last trip in Western Illinois.
1) The Loveland Community House
George and Emma Loveland lived in Dixon, Illinois their whole lives, but traveled extensively. When they both passed away, they noted in their will and testament that all of their estate funds and belongings from their travels would be donated to the city of Dixon. With this endowment, a museum and community center was built that has continued to serve the community in a number of ways. The museum has one of the most eclectic but fun collections I’ve ever seen (it also includes donations from other Dixon Locals too), as well as meeting rooms and a huge auditorium. I performed my 3rd Illinois concert here and it was a fantastic show. You can see video of some of the songs from this performance on my new YouTube page.
2) The John Deere Historic Site
While this site is not on the Lincoln Highway (it’s about 5 miles from Dixon in Grand Detour), make the journey to visit this place. Between the Archeological Site, the resident Blacksmith doing demonstrations, the gardens, and the original home, you will really get a wonderful, interactive glimpse into life in Grand Detour in the early to mid 1800s.
3) City of Dixon, Illinois
For a population of 16,000, Dixon has a lot going on! The biggest claim to fame is that Ronald Reagan spent his boyhood here, and you can tour this home as well as follow the Reagan Trail. There’s a lot of Lincoln Highway sights here too (see in pictures below), plus there’s five gorgeous state parks all within a short driving distance of the highway.
4) De Immigrant Windmill, Fulton Illinois
Who knew an operating Windmill was in Western Illinois? Originally built in the Netherlands, disassembled and shipped to Fulton. They process 5 different grains in this mill (depending on how the wind is that day), and you can buy it on site. Check out the Windmill Cultural Center next door too, you can see really intricate models of dozens of different types of windmills from all over the world.
Other Lincoln Highway related sites include the Lincoln Highway Association Headquarters in Franklin Grove, IL (they’ve got so much cool stuff there, make sure you have a whole afternoon to check it out), plus the seedling mile in Malta, IL (right in front of the community college). There’s plenty of things to see and do along the route in the “Land of Lincoln”, you easily could do multiple trips.
Here’s a few snapshots of all of the places that I’ve mentioned, plus a couple extra surprises :-) – Enjoy!
Up next, I’ll be taking a break from my road reporting and doing a special surprise post, so stay tuned to see what it is!