The Northwest Territory Historic Center, in the former Dixon school where future President Ronald Reagan attended sixth and seventh grades, features a variety of historic exhibits, including a classroom restored to look as it did when young “Dutch” Reagan sat at his desk. In addition, Northwest Territory Historic Center has two spectacular exhibits to enrich our understanding of Native American life and early American farming. Speaking lifelike figures enrich our perception of life and the struggle to thrive in a young 19th century United States.
"AN UNCHANGED LAND"
Native American / Black Hawk War
By the middle of the 1700s, the Sauk had moved from the Lower Wisconsin River to a site on the eastern shores of the Upper Mississippi River known today as Rock Island, Illinois. There the Sauk developed the largest village of the time and named it Saukenuk. At its height, Saukenuk sustained 2,000 to 3,000 inhabitants who cultivated up to 800 acres of glacial-fertilized land. A handful of additional Sauk villages were established nearby, but none approached the grandeur of Saukenuk.
"THE CHANGING LAND"
Early American Farming
The independent, yeoman farmer, is now regarded as a bright symbol of American democracy. He supported himself and his family on small farmsteads and brought civilization to a wild frontier. The hard life of early settlers was romanced in books and newspapers. It was cited as a main element of the nation's progress because it demonstrated that people of vision and ability could lift themselves up by their own boot straps by becoming a land owner.
Other exhibits include:
- President Reagan History Room
- Original Reagan Movie Posters
- Local Chautauqua History
- Dixon in 1846 Diorama
- Abraham Lincoln History Room
- WWI Airfield Diorama
Northwest Territory Historic Center
205 West Fifth Street