This will only be a small bit about Dixon, as I don't know a lot about it. It also sits on the Rock River and they also have a dam. They are a larger town than Oregon. Dixon is known as the Petunia City. Every summer, virtually all the streets are lined with petunias, most of which seem to be pink. On the main streets, where there isn't room for them to be along the curb, they have them hanging in baskets on the lamp poles. There is also a huge arch that goes across the main street, and it has always been a landmark for me. We go under the arch, when coming from the south, and turn right - that is the way to Oregon!
The picture below was copied from the Dixon, Illinois site, which you can view at the following url: Dixon, Illinois
Ronald Reagan moved with his parents to Dixon around 1920. He went to elementary and high school there, as well as worked as a life guard at the beach at Lowell Park. The beach is no longer there, but I do remember it from when I was a child, as well as the summer I went into high school, 1962. The lower pictures are from Lowell Park taken in June, 2006, of the area that used to be the beach area. Lowell Park was established around 1907 and encompasses over 200 acres. You can read more about the park and Ronald Reagan at the following two sites:
You have to cross the bridge and go a few miles, then turn to the right on Lowell Park Road to get to Lowell Park. It is several miles out of town. As Bob and I drove into it, we took a road off to the right. This narrow road took us into the woods and wound around some of the hills and ravines within the park. The road at one point had another turnoff with a sign saying no RVs or camper trailers beyond this point. I soon saw why! Hairpin turns that I even wondered if it was safe for us to be driving in our van soon were upon us. The post speed limit was 15 mph, but I often was doing 10 mph or less. There were no shoulders to the road - the hillsides went straight up from one side of the road with the other side being a good drop into a ravine. It was a pretty drive, but I was glad when we were down and through it. I parked in the shade and told Bob of what it used to look like, saying the beach ended at the road, but as I got out of the van to take some pictures, I realized that the beach had run up to the former concession stand/beach house. There had been some changes made with the road, too, altho I can't remember just what it used to look like - after all it had only been about 42 years since I saw the beach there. The area is now landscaped with bench swings, cement ramps, handicapped accessible ramps - all for docking or launching boats. While I was taking some pictures, a young family pulled in with a boat on a trailer. I stood and watched as they man manuvered the trailer around to back into the edge of the water. I stood there grinning like a Cheshire cat, remembering all the times I had helped my dad put our boat in the river at Oregon so many years ago. We just had a gravel road with an old wooden dock and if there were more than one boat to be launched, you just had to wait your turn. This area was set up for about 4-5 boats to launch at once.
As I stood there watching and listening to the dad give orders to his little crew, I remembered how for us, it was usually just Dad and I. Mom didn't like the water and Brian was often busy doing something else. Every so often he was with us, but it was not a usual thing. Dad had a strict rule that you must know how to swim to be out on his boat, as well as wear a life jacket. Once my boys started coming along, I never went out on the boat again, but Bob went often on a Saturday afternoon while the boys were napping. One Saturday, they left for the river, but pulled back in the drive within half an hour. As they pulled in, Mom made the comment about the ramp area must be too crowded and Dad got impatient about waiting - boy, was she wrong! Dad stormed into the house, yelling for Brian as soon as he was inside the back door. He hurried into the living room, still hollering as he spotted Brian. Brian's friend went hurrying out the front door as he didn't want to feel any of Dad's wrath. Mom and I thought it funny that he left so quickly, afterall his dad was the high school football coach and could "holler" with the best of them!!
While Dad was yelling at Brian, and cussing up a storm, Mom and I stayed in the kitchen and got the low-down from Bob. Bob had been holding the rope from the prow as Dad backed in the water. The boat slid off the trailer and Dad started to pull up the gravel road/ramp. The boat just kept going - under the water!! Seems that when Brian had mowed the lawn earlier in the week, he had taken the plug out of the bottom of the boat to allow the rain water to drain out - part of his chores that went with mowing the lawn! However, he stuck the plug in his jeans pocket while he mowed and promptly forgot all about returning it to the boat. In fact, it was still in those jeans upstairs that afternoon! He retrieved the plug, handed it to Dad and Bob and Dad once again left to launch the boat. After an hour on the river, Bob said Dad had cooled down enough that they were able to talk! As I watched the man back his boat in the water, I half expected their boat to do the same as ours had done years ago. When I returned to the van, Bob was laughing. I asked him if he was remembering that time our boat just kept going under water. He laughed so hard that his eyes were watering. He finally said, "All I could say was, Dad, Dad, the boat is sinking!" And he just kept driving!!
These pictures are taken at Lowell Park of the area that I remember being all beach area.
These are other pictures taken of and near the same area, as well as a couple of the boat I had watched being put in the water.
White Pines State Park
Castle Rock State Park
Castle Rock Boat Access Pictures
Castle Rock Picnic & Trail Area Pictures
Lowden State Park
Lowden-Miller State Forest
Mt. Morris, Illinois
Grand Detour, Illinois