Unique Gems of Freeport and Stephenson County Illinois

Little Treasures and Unique Gems of Freeport and Stephenson County Illinois

Along with the many places to visit and enjoy in Freeport and in Stephenson County are many hidden and sometimes secret treasures, that only if you’ve lived here a while, you might ever know about. Below are a few of these unique and often overlooked gems that you can find in Freeport and Stephenson County. If you would like to add a place, tell us about it here.

Glick’s Infamous Triangle Grocery

Glick’s served Freeport Residents For Decades. Today, Faith Center Church owns the former Glick’s Triangle building, which is being transformed into Joseph’s Training Center, an outreach providing vital ministry and skills training for those in need.

Freeport Longfellow

The Familiar Yellow and White Georgian Mansion Doesn’t Stand Only On Brattle Street In Cambridge, MA. Almost identical buildings exist across the country, like this one in Freeport, Illinois. The Cambridge Longfellow House was once the home of Henry W. Longfellow, one of the world’s foremost 19th century poets and served as headquarters for General George Washington during the Siege of Boston, July 1775 – April 1776. Shown below is the Freeport Longfellow.

The House Many Have Traveled On

The bricks that once made up the roadway of Stephenson Street in Freeport are these very bricks on this Freeport home that sits here today. In the 1920’s when Stephenson Street was being repaved, the bricks from the road were removed, tumbled and used to build this home that sits on the corner of Stephenson Street and Park Blvd.

The Holiday Christmas Apple

Every year for as long as just about anyone can remember, the same home on Stephenson Street has carried on a tradition of lighting what has become one of Freeport’s most hidden treasures, the Holiday Apple. Each year during the holiday’s thousands of people take a drive down Stephenson Street to get a glimpse of this delightful part of Freeport.

Drive Up Propane

No need to even get out of your car in Freeport when you need propane. There’s a “drive up” propane place in town that’s been at its current location for over 25 years. Gene Hank formerly ran the business for over 30 years before retiring and handing the business over to Casey Myers. The other best part, they only charge you for what they add too.

The Father of John D. Rockefeller

Of all the places in the world, John D. Rockefeller’s fathers grave can be found in Freeport, Illinois. The American oil industry business magnate, industrialist, and philanthropist is widely considered the wealthiest American of all time, and the richest person in modern history.  Read more…

The Charles J. Guiteau Home

We have presidential fame and lore that goes back to the 20th President of the United States. Charles Julius Guiteau was an American writer and lawyer who was convicted of the assassination of James A. Garfield, the 20th President of the United States.

36 Ton 1912 Heisler Steam Locomotive

Nothing says freedom like boarding the Silver Creek Railroad Antique Steam 36 ton 1912 Heisler steam locomotive that takes you through a journey of a lifetime. Enjoy a four mile ride through farmlands of Stephenson County and across a bridge 30′ above Yellow Creek on this steam locomotive that pulls three cabooses, including the antique red caboose reported to be the oldest in the state.

The Twin Caves

One of Freeport’s most treasured sights are the legendary Twin Caves located in Krape Park, another gem of its own in Freeport.  The story goes that in the water below the caves was an underground cave that is said to have led to the caves above.  The Twin Caves were discovered in 1861 and are only accessible by boat.

Dan’s 66 Old Time Gas Station  – Visit

One of the last of the old time gas stations where attendants fill your tank, wash your windshield and still check your oil and tire pressure is located on Galena Avenue in Freeport. An old time station where personal service still means something rain, snow, sleet or hail. Dan’s 66 is a definite Freeport treasure.

The Oldest Amateur Theatre

Winneshiek Players: Hailed as the oldest continuous running amateur theatre in the entire United States, in 1916 on North Chicago Avenue in Freeport, Illinois a group of people devoted to theatre arts began what is today, a 100 year history rich in some of the finest live theater performances of our time.

The Wishing Well

The wishing well is located in Read Park and has been a gathering place for people to enjoy for decades. We have no confirmed reports of anyone’s wishes coming true but then again, would you tell others? The wishing well is just one part of many in Read Park worth seeing.

Fever River RailroadRailroad Fall Open House

A not-for-profit group of scale modelers and railroad history buffs who operate the Fever River Railroad, a very large model railroad layout of a fictional Class 1 railroad which operates between the port cities of Duluth, Minnesota and St. Louis Missouri. Their layout size is 120′-by-24′ including a staging yard with a helix for continuous operation.

The World’s Tallest CowBlossom, The World's Tallest Cow Ever of Orangeville, Illinois

In a story you might expect to find in a children’s book, the little town of Orangeville was the birthplace of a global celebrity.  A celebrity who just happens to hold the prestigious title in the Guinness World Records Book as the “Tallest Cow Ever”.

Abe Lincoln (George Buss)

Legendary Abraham Lincoln impersonator, George Buss performs all throughout the country as our nations 16th President and has been selected to deliver the Gettysburg address at Dedication Day in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

The First Billionaire

A graduate of Freeport High School in 1964, Robert L. Johnson is an American entrepreneur best known as the founder of the BET channel and as the country’s first African-American billionaire.

Sunsets

We have sunrises and sunsets that just take you back in awe. Views that leave you speechless at the true wonder of the world we live in. While not unique to us, the landscape surrounding the area makes for some breathtaking sunrises and sunsets.

Tiny Railroad Houses

In Freeport’s railroad district you can still find tiny houses that once were once homes and places to stay for railroad workers. Many of the homes are still occupied today and have been over the decades by single people, even families.

Dead Man’s Curve

On the southeast side of Krape Park, at another gem location in Freeport (Woodside Drive) is a curve that over the decades has been hailed by the locals as Dead Man’s Curve. With its winding nearly 180 turn, in the summer months when the foliage is all grown in, it’s a dangerous corner if you’re not paying attention. Its mixture of intrigue with the beauty of Woodside Drive makes it a treasured part of Freeport life.

Mrs. Mikes Famous Potato Chips

A story that dates back to 1971 when Butch Mordick bought the Mrs. Mike’s Potato Chip Company. Today Mr. Mikes potato chips are famous around the world. To this day the company operates out of the same building they started with in 1971 employing six people, including Mordick’s sons, Matt and Dan.

To God Be The Glory U.S. 20 Barn

The barn, located on Highway 20 and built in 1915 was given a new purpose in 1972 by Steve, Jeff and Terry Crull with their father Gilbert. Needing a new roof, the family devised a way to use the barn to send a message to all who passed it. What you see today, is what they came up with. The old barn is even credited for saving a woman’s life. If you lived in Freeport, seeing this always let you know you were home.

The Rawleigh Mansion

The W T Rawleigh Medical Company was recognized as one of the greatest manufacturers and distributors of over 100 household products. By the start of World War I there were almost 1,000 Rawleigh dealers, and factories in Memphis, Tennessee; Chester, Pennsylvania; Oakland, California; and two branches in Canada, based in Winnipeg and Toronto. This was founder William Thomas Rawleigh’s home.

2016 Chicago Cubs Trophy Tour

The Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Trophy made a stop in Freeport as part of the Cubs Midwestern World Series Trophy Tour on Sunday January 8th, 2017. Well over 5,000 people came to the Masonic Temple to get a glimpse and snap a once in a lifetime photo. We were there and here’s our LIVE coverage just as the event was getting underway.

It’s All In A Name Trick

When the new (old now) city hall building was designed the architect, D.S. Schureman, had asked that his name be inscribed on it. City Officials refused his request. So, he suggested since the new City Hall would also house the 800px-freeportilcityhall4 - r3public library, it would be appropriate to inscribe the cornice with names of famous writers and scientists. After the work was completed, City Officials noticed what Schureman’s Plan B was. The first letters of the names inscribed on the frieze spell D.S. Schureman (Dante, Shakespeare, Spencer, Chaucer, Homer, Uhland, Regelais, Emerson, Milton, Addison, and Newton).

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