Visiting Reagan’s Boyhood

My “travelogue” of my Wheaton trip continues today. While researching there, I realized I wasn’t too far from the town of Dixon, which was Ronald Reagan’s boyhood home. The town is quite proud of its most prominent citizen, so one of the houses Reagan lived in has been restored to what it would have looked like in the early 1920s. I decided, once I concluded my Billy Graham and C. S. Lewis research, to journey to Dixon to see the restored house.

It’s not a home fit for a king—or president—but Reagan’s parents were never financially well off. They never owned a home, but only rented. This was probably the best place they stayed in his early years:


The docent who gave the tour was excellent, full of Reagan stories and detailed explanations of what life was like for him during those years. I’ve studied Reagan for quite a while, and even teach a course on him, but she offered some tidbits I hadn’t heard before, such as the small tile in front of the fireplace, under which a young Reagan used to hide his spending money:


When Reagan returned to Dixon during his presidency, he related that fact as he toured his former residence, and for the cameras, he decided to do it once more:


20140813_142833The tour, as I said, was both entertaining and informative, from the brass bed the Reagan boys had to share, to the kitchen filled with interesting 1920s mechanical marvels, to the small dining room where President Reagan ate lunch when he returned. The Visitor Center, right next to the house, shows an excellent video of the house’s restoration and Reagan’s 1984 return to Dixon. I bought a DVD set about his life that I didn’t know existed (and I thought I had seen them all). The statue of Reagan, outside the house, captures his winsomeness quite well. All in all, I’m glad I had the opportunity to see this historic landmark and add a few more morsels of knowledge about one of the best presidents this nation ever had.