DescriptionDixon was established in 1830 at the Rock River crossing on the Peoria-Galena Trail. Two years later, during the Black Hawk War, Capt. Abraham Lincoln of the Sangamon County Volunteers served here with two individuals who would later factor into the nation’s history: Zachary Taylor, then leader of the 1st Infantry Regiment and later the nation’s 12th president; and Jefferson Davis, who served in the regiment and later became the president of the Confederate States of America. Lincoln's election as captain of his fellow volunteers was his first elective office.
The city has another presidential connection: Ronald “Dutch” Reagan grew up here from the time he was 9 years old until he graduated college. Just north of town is Lowell Park, where a young Reagan served as lifeguard 1927-1932 and was credited with saving 77 lives. On the riverfront at the foot of Reagan Way (once Hennepin Avenue) is Heritage Crossing, an interpretive walk and public plaza featuring a bronze statue of Reagan astride a palomino horse. The monument was placed directly across the Rock River from the site of Fort Dixon of Black Hawk War fame and the Abraham Lincoln State Memorial, a bronze statue of a young Abraham Lincoln in military uniform.
Dixon also is the northernmost of 11 cities that make up The Reagan Trail, linking Illinois communities that played important roles in his early years. North of Dixon is a scenic portion of SR 2, which follows the Rock River valley for 41 miles from Dixon northeast to Rockford.
Visitor InfoDixon Chamber of Commerce and Main Street, Inc. 87 S. Hennepin Ave. DIXON, IL 61021. Phone:(815)284-3361
Self-guiding toursA brochure outlining a driving tour of The Reagan Trail is available at the chamber of commerce, at the Dixon Welcome Center, 83 S. Peoria Ave., and at the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home. A driving/hiking/water trail map of the Rock River Trail also is available at the chamber of commerce.
Things to SeeLincoln Monument State Memorial