Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ronald Reagan Trail: Peoria Heights

Illinois River from Grandview Drive
The US Route 24 section of the Ronald Reagan Trail ends after it crosses the Illinois River at the junction of Illinois Route 29.

The story so far: The 40th president and his brother Neil would carpool or hitchhike home from Eureka College to Dixon.

Peoria Heights is an absolutely gorgeous suburb of Peoria. Its outstanding features are Grandview Park and Grandview Drive. In 1910, Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed the road the "World's most beautiful drive" during a visit. WMBD Radio got its name from TR's accolation.

What Sheridan Road on Chicago's North Shore is to Chicago, Grandview Drive is to Peoria--the area's most prestigious homes are found there. And the views from the drive, well, you can see how they are...

Further north of Grandview Park on Route 29 is a better know one, at least among high school distance runners, is Detweiller Park, which has been the site of the Illinois high school cross country championships for decades. Probably the biggest regret from my high school years--well, at least one that I can post here--is not running in what is generally called "the state meet" among harriers.

On the positive end, not only did Lukas Verzbicas, a runner from my alma mater, Carl Sandburg High School, win the two most recent state meets, he was also named Gatorade's National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year.

Another view,
Illinois River from Grandview Drive
Just west of Peoria Heights in Peoria proper is Peoria Public Stadium. I ran there once--it was for the Peoria Central High School Track Invitational. A vandal had removed the "L" on the sign in front of the stadium, making it "Peoria Pubic Stadium," which I thought was pretty funny at the time. I've since matured.

Illinois Route 29 is an official American Byway and one of the most underrated scenic roads in our great nation.

And finally, two days after I completed my Reagan Trail drive, a Reagan Trail YouTube channel debuted. And to think I was going to tear into the Reagan Trail website in my next post for not being updated in two years.

Here is the Peoria Heights entry:

UPDATE August 7: The PrairieStater has a lot more on the World's Most Beautiful Drive.

Next: Chillicothe

Related posts:

Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and Yosemite
My Mississippi Manifest Destiny: Teddy Bear

Earlier posts:

Washington, Illinois
The town of Eureka
Eureka College's Reagan Museum
Returning to Eureka College and the 1982 address
Eureka College
Carl Sandburg
Wyatt Earp

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