Thursday, February 05, 2009

Midwestern Presidential Pathway: Dixon, a shining city upon a hill

The past few days when I've been at that (White House) window upstairs, I've thought a bit of the "shining city upon a hill." The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we'd call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free.
Ronald Reagan's farewell dress, January 11, 1989.

When nine-year old "Dutch" Reagan moved from tiny Tampico, Illinois to the much larger Dixon, he must have thought of the Rock River town as a "shining city upon a hill."

The pilgrims of course were very religious people, and it was in Dixon that Reagan found his religious identity. After reading a book about a man of faith, "That Printer Of Udell's," Dutch told his mother he wanted to to be baptized. Nelle took Ronald to Dixon's First Christian Church, which is pictured on the left.

Did you know there is an Abraham Lincoln tie to Dixon? Our 16th president joined the Illinois militia to fight in the Blackhawk War in 1832--Lincoln saw no action in that conflict, except against mosquitoes, he quipped. I couldn't find it, but there is a Lincoln statue somewhere near the spot where I took the photograph on top. America'a first cross-country road, the Lincoln Highway, passes through Dixon, as does the Ronald Reagan Trail, which connects the various towns connected to Reagan near Tampico and Dixon.

Dixon's main north-south route is Galena Avenue, which is graced by the Dixon Arch, formally known as the War Memorial Arch.

Next: Tampico, Illinois where Ronald Reagan was born on February 6, 1911.

Earlier posts:

Midwestern Presidential Pathway: Ronald Reagan's Dixon, Illinois

Midwestern Presidential Pathway: Herbert Hoover Library and Museum

Midwestern Presidential Pathway: Herbert Hoover Birthplace

Midwestern Presidential Pathway: Where Grant worked as a clerk

Midwestern Presidential Pathway: Mrs. Butterworth

Midwestern Presidential Pathway: Ulysses S. Grant Home

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