Northern including Rockford & Galena, Illinois Attractions
Northern Illinois has many historical attractions and heritage found throughout the cities and towns.
One of the first settlements along the Kankakee River, Bourbonnais was established as a French trading post in 1832. The village was named after Francois Bourbonnais, Sr., a fur trapper and hunter who arrived in the area in 1830.The annual summer training camp of the Chicago Bears takes place at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais.
Interactive displays at the Exploration Station include a mock airplane cockpit, fire truck, farm and medieval castle. The Community Room has hands-on exhibits, and an arts and crafts table. The Space exhibit is one of the most popular rooms at Exploration Station with its glow in the dark exhibit.
Address: 1095 West Perry Street, Bourbonnais, IL 60914, United States
Opening hours: Apr 1 to Aug 31: 10am-5pm; Sun: 1pm-5pm; Tue: 10am-5:30pm; Thu: 10am-5:30pm
Sep 1 to Mar 31: 10am-5pm; Sun: 1pm-5pm; Tue: 10am-5:30pm; Thu: 10am-5:30pm; Closed: Mon
Sep 1 to Mar 31: 10am-5pm; Sun: 1pm-5pm; Tue: 10am-5:30pm; Thu: 10am-5:30pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Thanksgiving - USA (4th Thursday, Nov), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in USD: Adult $5.00, Child 17 & under $4.00, Senior over 55 $4.00, Child 1 & under FREE
Facilities: Restaurant or food service
Bourbonnais Grove Historical Society Museum
The George R. Letourneau Home Museum is preserved to commemorate the first mayor of the village and one of the oldest surviving structures in Bourbonnais.
Cedarville Historical Museum, Cedarville, Illinois
Located in an old stone jail house, a permanent exhibit honoring Jane Addams, who was born and raised in Cedarville is on display. The exhibit includes personal items and memorabilia from her life and the life of her family. Jane Addams was an internationally famous humanitarian and social work pioneer who founded Chicago's Hull House and won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Elizabeth was first settled in 1825 when A.P. VanMatre built the first smelter in the area. In 1832, Elizabeth was the site of an important battle during the Black Hawk War. In 1888, the Chicago Great Western Railroad came through Elizabeth. The Elizabeth Train Depot now houses Chicago Great Western Railway and train-related artifacts.
Chicago Great Western Railroad Depot
The Chicago Great Western Depot was constructed in 1888. The railway was nicknamed "The Maple Leaf Route" since its three main lines including the branches, took on the appearance of a maple leaf.The old passenger waiting room, located within the depot, is a local history museum operated by the Elizabeth Historical Society.
Apple River Fort
The Apple River Fort was built in 1823 to protect the town during the Black Hawk War.
DeKalb was home to the barbed wire industry, which began in the 1870's as well as the nations first farm bureau. DeKalb is home to The Egyptian Theatre, a fully restored, Egyptian Art Deco movie house as well as Glidden Homestead and Historical Center.
Ellwood House Museum
Ellwood House is a Victorian mansion, built in 1879, by barbed wire millionaire Isaac L. Ellwood. The bedrooms, servant's rooms, and service areas of Ellwood House have been restored to provide a glimpse of how the Ellwood family lived decades ago.
Blackhawk War Monument, Kent, Illinois
The Blackhawk War Monument is located on the site of Kellogg's Grove, an early settlement established in 1827. The monument honors those killed in the Blackhawk War, including in the final Illinois battle which occurred at this grove in June, 1832. The Blackhawk War Monument was erected and dedicated in 1886.
La Salle, Illinois
LaSalle was founded in 1827 when plans were made for the Illinois and Michigan Canal, it was named for the French explorer who came to the region in 1679. Attractions include Hegeler Carus Mansion, LaSalle Speedway and nearby the Wild Bill Hickok State Memorial.
Starved Rock State Park
This nature park south-west of Chicago on the Illinois River, noted for its sandstone formations, is named after a group of Illini Indians who were left by their enemies to starve to death on one of the rocks.Starved Rock offers many recreational opportunities including picnicking, fishing, boating, horseback riding camping and winter sports.
Matthiessen State Park
Matthiessen State Park has an abundance of plant and animal life, picnicking opportunities and hiking trails. The park was named for the late Frederick William Matthiessen, a prominent industrialist and philanthropist, who operated the privately owned park for many years.
Ottawa Scouting Museum, Ottawa, Illinois
The Ottawa Scouting Museum highlights the history of scouting with exhibits that include uniforms, badges, canteens, and historic photographs. The museum pays tribute to Boy Scouting, Girl Scouting and Camp Fire through its vast collection and educational programs.
Fur trader Stephen Mack and his wife Hononegah, daughter of a Potawatamie chief, founded Rockton in 1835. Rockton has Greek Revival homes and buildings, the county's oldest church, the Old Stone Church, Victorian era houses and turn-of-the-century limestone buildings.
Stephen Mack Home
Stephen Mack was the first to settle in Rockton and his home has been restored to its original state. It offers a glimpse into the life of this frontiersman.
Dixon was the original site of a trading post served by a ferry on Rock River. It is also associated with two U.S. presidents, Abraham Lincoln was here in 1832 and Ronald Reagan grew up in Dixon.
Ronald Reagan's Boyhood Home
Ronald Reagan's Boyhood Home was home to the Reagan family from 1920-1923. It has been restored and furnished to appear as it did during that period. Next to the home is a Visitors Center with video footage of Mr. Reagan.
Lincoln Monument State Memorial
A small park marks the site of the Dixon Blockhouse, within the park is a statue of Lincoln as a young man.
Fulton is home to Cattail Park, located on the Mississippi River. The town is known for its pride in its Dutch heritage, this is most evident from the Dutch Windmill, which was manufactured and pre-assembled in the Netherlands.
German Valley, Illinois
German Valley is located in Northwestern Illinois between Freeport and Rockford. German Valley hosts its own town festival, "German Valley Days" on the third weekend of July each year.
German Valley Historical Museum
Memorabilia relating to the history of German Valley and the surrounding area are featured at the German Valley Historical Museum. A kitchen area, sitting area, dining room, office and military room are furnished and include items from the Ostfriesian area of Germany.
The Kankakee River provided a gateway for the first white settlers. Scenic drives past Rock Creek Falls and Rock Creek Canyon are available between Kankakee and Wilmington.
Kankakee County Historical Museum Complex
The Kankakee County Historical Museum Complex is located in Governor Small Memorial Park and offers three main exhibit areas. The Museum, the Taylor one room schoolhouse, and the Dr. A.L. Small home (the boyhood home of Governor Len Small). There is also a Native American exhibit and sculpture gallery that houses nearly 30 original works by George Gray Barnard who lived in Kankakee during his formative years.
Farnsworth House, Plano, Illinois
Farnsworth House was designed by the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1949. It is constructed of steel, glass and Roman travertine marble, and also contains furniture designed by the architect.
"Long John" Wentworth was instrumental in getting the trains to stop in town, which caused the town to grow rapidly and he named the town after his hometown of Sandwich, NH. Home to the Sandwich Fair, the oldest continuously run fair in Illinois.
Stone Mill Museum
Illinois Waterway Visitor Center, Utica, Illinois
Belvidere has been designated Illinois City of Murals, it has 15 historic murals throughout the downtown area.
Boone County Historical Museum
The Boone County Historical Museum, founded in 1968, features local memorabilia including Civil War artifacts, historical dolls, clothing, tools and transportation methods.
Lena is located in Stephenson County, Northwest Illinois. Lena is home to several parks, a golf course, a water park and nearby Lake Le-Aqua-Na, a man-made lake.
Lena Area Historical Museum
Lena Area Historical Museum houses many historical items including quilts, farm tools, clothing, and military exhibits are on display. Located on the grounds of the museum are an Illinois Central caboose, the first log schoolhouse built in Lena, a summer kitchen, and a barn with related displays.
Lena Water Tower
The Lena Water Tower was built in 1896, it is believed to be on of the only three in Illinois of similar construction. The 100 foot tall tower has become the symbol for the village of Lena.
Situated along the I & M Canal, Morris is a scenic town. The downtown district in Morris is one of the few historically intact downtown areas in Illinois.
Vintage Wings & Wheels Museum, Poplar Grove, Illinois
Vintage Wings & Wheels Museum is located at the Poplar Grove Airport and features a variety of vintage autos, trucks and other equipment.
Sterling is an industrial town located on the north bank of the Rock River. It is a national producer of builders' hardware.
Dillon Home Museum
Dillon Home Museum is the former residence of P.W. Dillon, son of the original owner of the Northwestern Steel & Wire Co. Built in 1857 in the Italian Renaissance-style, the home contains original furnishings and accessories. Local history exhibits are located in the museum carriage house.
Streatorland Historical Society Museum, Streator, Illinois
Streatorland Historical Museum displays 19th Century clothing, a music room, and photographs depicting Streator history.
Amboy is home to a historical museum and wood carvings done from tree trunks.
Amboy Depot Museum
The 19 room Amboy Depot Museum is housed in the Illinois Central Railroad Depot, built in 1876. The restored building features many historical artifacts from Amboy and surrounding area such as a one-room country schoolhouse, a retired steam engine and a caboose.
Cherry Valley, Illinois
Cherry Valley has many attractions and is home to a water amusement waterpark.
Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve
Kishwaukee River Forest Preserve
Magic Waters Waterpark
Magic Waters Waterpark is a 43 acre waterpark featuring a wave pool, water slides, water roller coaster and beach volleyball.
Grand Detour, Illinois
Grand Detour was originally known as Great Bend and is located on the Rock River.
John Deere Historic Site
The John Deere Historic Site features a blacksmith at work in a replica of the blacksmith's shop where John Deere made his historic plow in 1837.An archaeological team from the University of Illinois unearthed the exact location of the blacksmith shop. The complex includes the restored Deere homestead, and an archeological exhibition building on the excavated site.