A Tour of Ronald Reagan’s Boyhood Home in Dixon, Illinois
Dixon, Illinois is most famous for being the hometown location of 40th President, Ronald Reagan. The Reagan’s lived in the Dixon home for 3 years, between 1920-1923, making Ronald 9 at the time of move in. The house opened to the public in the mid 80’s. Tours of the Reagan house run from April to October each year. Reagan’s Boyhood home is located at 816 S. Hennepin Ave. Dixon, IL 61021. In 2002, the house was named a National Historic site. At this time, the street was renamed Reagan Way.
Tours of Reagan’s Boyhood Home
Tours of the home are offered Monday-Saturday from 10am-4pm (the last tour leaves at 3pm) from March 29-Dec. 17th. Before the guided tour, you will watch a 10 minute video. Next, the tour guide will take you through each room of the Reagan house, giving information about Reagan’s early and later life. The tour lasts approximately an hour. During the tour, I had the opportunity to learn plenty of new & interesting facts. For example, I never knew that Reagan was an announcer for the Chicago Cubs!
None of the original furniture remains in the house, however, it has been remodeled to resemble the look of a 1920s residence.
A Photo tour of the Reagan house
The room that Ronald shared with his brother Neil.
This room was the Reagan guest bedroom, which they rented out occasionally. Ronald’s mother, Nelle, used it primarily for her sewing.
Mr. and Mrs. Reagan’s room
The bathroom was originally a closet. Look at the narrowness of the room!
The parlor room
The sitting room. Ronald’s mother used to make popcorn all the time, as it was one of the few snacks of the time.
Ronald used to hide his money under the piece of broken tile by the parlor fireplace. Even though he wasn’t allowed in the parlor room, he was tall enough to reach the fireplace without stepping foot into the room.
On his visit to Dixon, Reagan told the story of his hiding place. Once again, he placed pennies under a tile. In the frame below, you can see the actual picture of Ronald putting the pennies down. The pennies displayed in the frame are authentic.
The kitchen features a zinc sink (it inhibited mold, didn’t rust, and was cheaper). The corner icebox kept milk and butter cold. Ronald and his brother would have the task of emptying the drip tray each day.
When Reagan came back to his boyhood home for an anniversary dinner, he sat in the chair in front of the china cabinet. Ronald’s chef brought with his own plates, however, he wanted to eat off the plates at the house. Staff later marked the plate which he ate off (the tour guide will show you the plate). However, the Secret Service wouldn’t allow him to eat the cake because they did not see it being prepared!
After your house tour, make sure to stop in the Visitor’s center/gift shop to view various novelty items and some memorabilia.
The famous Reagan statue
Make sure to get your picture by the Reagan statue outside. In addition, you can also explore the Reagan trail & statue located on the riverfront. Also Arthurs is a great local restaurants in the region if you are seeking a casual lunch destination.
Reagan Home Address: 816 S. Hennepin Ave. Dixon, IL 61021
Reagan Home Tour Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10:00am-4:00pm (last tour leaves at 3)
Admission Prices: $8 per person. Free admission for teachers, students, military, fire and EMS professionals
Reagan Riverfront Statue Address: River Street Dixon, IL 61021