A Road Trip to Tampico Illinois, President Reagan’s Birthplace

We are never defeated unless we give up on God.” – Ronald Reagan

President Reagan, the 40th President of America, is still remembered today for many things, including his straight-forward message, “Morning in America” which was a significant part of his reelection campaign. The 1984 election was one which he won without much ado. 

America still honors Reagan today, and this includes his birthplace in the little town of Tampico, a two hours drive from Springfield Illinois. Tampico is a village with over 700 residents, located in Whiteside County, next to Rock Falls and Sterling Illinois. The drive on the country roads wasn’t too bad.

Some years ago (it is believed in October 1906), Reagan’s parents Jack and Nelle Reagan moved into a second-story in an apartment at 113 Main Street. According to some sources, the apartment was situated above what was either a tavern or a bakery. The two-story brick apartment has a similar architecture with its neighbors. 

The Main Street became notable mainly because the former president was born here on Feb. 6, 1911; unfortunately, several buildings in the district suffered significant damages in the 1870s (before Reagan’s birth) due to major tornadoes and fires.

I have been to this historical home a few times in the past years, I couldn’t tell the events that took place in this apartment, but with a tour of the apartment, I could note that it was decorated and refurbished (but only in a manner to portray what it could have looked like when Reagan’s mother Nelle Reagan gave birth to him on February 6, 1911).

I noted that even though the furniture and furnishings would be considered sparse and outdated by modern standards, one could still say they are up to standard for a middle-class family that existed in the early 20th century. Lying by the corner of what I assumed was Nelle Reagan’s room was a wood-framed bed such as the ones you will see in movies shot in the early 20s.

Going through the apartment, I couldn’t help but what wonder what life was like growing up here, what happened here. I could imagine Reagan, a baby sleeping in a crib by the window which faced Main Street basking in the early sun rays. 

The smell of the freshly baked cake from the bakery below (if it were bakery that was situated there), must have wafted through the thin air calling out to the family. If it were a tavern, then it must have been to his father’s advantage as men would cherish having a glass of beer after a stressful day.

The Reagan family lived at the address from 1906 until May 5, 1911 when they moved into a house on Glassburn Street, just across Main Street. While the Reagans lived in Tampico, Jack was employed at the HC Pitney Variety Store, across the street from the Reagan Birthplace in the 100 block of Main Street.

As a visitor, I wanted to visit everywhere and see everything; thus, I ventured to tour the restored First National Bank as well. The bank still had an ancient look as it still featured the antique safes, teller windows and other equipment that looked like they have existed from way back.

Next to the birthplace building, you will find the Tampico Historical Museum. Much of this museum is being devoted to Reagan and to many tourists who see the former president as a hero.

I have learnt that even though the ex-president did not spend many of his childhood days in the town of Tampico (the Reagans moved to Dixon Illinois where they occupied a house that would later be known as the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home), he did share a deep connection with his town. It was the sort of relationship that brings an incredible source of joy and pride to the locals.

If you want to pay a visit, bear in mind that due to the pandemic the Reagan Birthplace and the Museum business hours may have changed.

Sangamon Watches Celebrate the 1st Anniversary in Springfield Illinois

This week marks our first official anniversary of investing and establishing Sangamon Watch Company in Springfield Illinois. It has been a great learning experience with strong entrepreneurial spirit in our hearts. Due to the pandemic, we were unable to host our brand launching party in March, is now postponed in mid October! Facing so much challenges and uncertainties, we are still able to introduce three collections by end of this year, check us out and sign up a free watch raffle by July 1 at SangamonWatches.com

LA MicroLUX 2020 Update

LA MicroLUX will take place in September. The final dates are TBD at the moment. Join us and over 30 brands including Grand Seiko, Nomos, Bell & Ross, Montblanc, Norqain, Perrelet, MiniMax, Laco, Out of Order, Celeste Watch Co., Twelf-X, Nat by J, Tsao Baltimore and more.
Time is TBD, but in September sometime. Details at https://www.lamicrolux.com/event-details/la-microlux-2020

A Summer Walk at the WWII Veterans Memorial

In a hot summer day, Tyler and I decided to take some good photos for our Omaha Beach Collection watches at the World War II Illinois Veterans Memorial, less than ten minutes away from our office.

The Memorial was built to honor the 987,000 Illinois men and women who served our country during World War II. More than 22,000 Illinois citizens gave their lives in pursuit of liberty. The Memorial’s design highlight is a white 22-ton concrete globe 12 feet in diameter which represents the world in conflict during World War II. It is surrounded by black granite walls engraved with the names and dates of key battles of the Pacific and European theaters of war.

The Memorial was officially dedicated on December 4, 2004. It is located in Oak Ridge Cemetery 1441 Monument Ave., Springfield, Illinois, near the Korean and Vietnam Veterans Memorials a short distance from Abraham Lincoln’s tomb. The Memorial attracts many tourists from other states and countries.

Local Review: Springfield PT’s BBQ – Barbecue at its Best!

Barbecue is a delicacy with a uniquely divine savor that no one can ever say no to. From the young to the old, barbecue has its unique way of stirring up cravings in anyone. But then, if you are going enjoy a sumptuous round of barbecue, you’ve got to eat it from the best of barbecue makers.

You cannot talk about barbecue in Springfield Illinois without mentioning the African American owned PT’s BBQ ( address: 1723 ML King Drive, Springfield, IL) – except you’re a newcomer. PT’s BBQ has been in the business of making the tastiest and most delectable barbecue recipes in Central Illinois for over 15 years. And although they are situated in a pretty old ice stand, they have skillfully developed it into a booth that accommodates all their barbecue equipment and preparation procedures.

However, given that PT’s BBQ supplies Springfield with yummy barbecues from a stand, you really can’t get to eat in. Their services do not include the fancy tables, chairs and table clothes kind of setting. They can only offer you a unique and appetizing packaging for your barbecues, such that you’ll want to immediately dig into it just by seeing its packaging. You must also be strong-willed to be able to resist the divine smell of PT’s freshly grilled BBQ ribs, brisket, chicken wings and turkey legs if you ever get to pass by their stand.

While the PT’S BBQ might not be located in the best locality, their chopped pork and BBQ chicken are about the best sights to behold in Springfield. They’re extra appealing, and will make any human with a sense of smell and appetite stop by for a treat. Words will also not suffice to explain the luscious flavor and savouriness of their BBQ ribs and chopped brisket. Their sauce is equally spicy, with every detail of its flavor capable of delighting every kind of taste bud. My family loves the Polish sausages and ribs, their homemade sauce is very delicious too.

This blog cannot be complete without saying that PT’s BBQ offers about the best barbecue retail services in the country – including Memphis. Their workers are as friendly as puppies, and are always ready to take your orders in the most courteous manner. You’ll always want to come back for more barbecue – and attention- grabbing discussions.

As for PT’S BBQ prices, they’re very much in line with what is obtainable in other BBQ joints. If you consider the quality of grilled meat they sell, you’re going to be very appreciative of their prices – and definitely return for more treats.

Finally, the fact that both customers and residents around Springfield have never had any cause to raise a brow on PT’ BBQ and their services is an additional reason for you to try out their smoked chicken. Make it a date with your taste buds by stopping by the PT’S BBQ stand today!

(Note:) Need a FREE review and social media publicity for your local restaurant or bars? Contact: brian@SangamonWatches.com and we will come out to try your food and take photos! Follow us on Instagram: SangamonWatches

Retracing Lincoln’s Growing Years in New Salem – a Perfect Family Getaway Destination

There’s nothing more terrific than taking a trip back in time to retrace the steps of a great man and 16th President. New Salem, Illinois, also known as the Land of Lincoln has a ton of fascinating history associated with one of the most influential people in America’s history.  Here we can work in his footsteps from his early twenties to his years as a lawyer, then a politician, and finally the turning point.

Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site is a gorgeously recreated 1830’s village where Abraham Lincoln spent his early adulthood. It is the No. 1 Lincoln Destination and the most visited historical attraction in Illinois.

New Salem State Historic Site is situated about 20 miles northwest of Springfield in Petersburg and spans over 700 acres going down the Sangamon River.

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This charming district has about 18 of 23 buildings with their original foundations, made of log woods, and filled with objects, furniture, and decors of the time.

When combined together, it creates a nostalgic effect that simply takes you back in time, making it easy to envision how Lincoln lived and worked. It’s about literally walking in Lincoln’s footsteps.

Even more, during Summer time the locals here volunteer and dress-up in the clothes of the 180s and mimic that high-pitched nasally accent while representing different individuals from the time. Since Lincoln was still a commoner at the time, they wouldn’t focus differently on him but showcase life as it was to showcase, rather than tell the story.

New Salem is also called Lincoln’s Turning Point because it was the place 22-year old Lincoln came to transition into the personality he is known for. He arrived by flatboat, lived and worked here in this village from 1831 to 1837. Lincoln was a shopkeeper, soldier, general store owner, deputy land surveyor, postmaster, and rail-splitter. He also worked at several odd jobs and never shied away from hard work.

As the locals say, Lincoln never owned a home, just like most single men did not at the time and would often take meals with any family in the vicinity. Here he crafted his reputation for hard work and came to be called “Honest Abe” due to his fairness as a land surveyor. It is also in this village that the name Rail-Splitting President came to be. At the time, New Salem was no small farm village, but a thriving commercial one with lots of craftsmen and businessmen, trying to make a new life. Right here, Lincoln began his studies in Law and also his political career as well.

New Salem Historic Site is an amazing place to visit. It’s a perfect place to not only learn about Lincoln’s life and impact but take a peek at America’s 242 years history.  It’s an ideal vacation for the entire family, and there’s a lovely bakery there for all the delicacies you want. 

If visiting New Salem or Springfield, Illinois, or on a Route 66 trip, you are welcome to contact us and visit our Sangamon watches show room. Our Springfield office is only 25 minutes away from New Salem.