Another new gazebo is spreading news of the Lincoln Highway in Illinois. Though the town of Oregon is not on the coast-to-coast the route, it played a part in the road’s development and history. The Ogle County News reports that officials unveiled the addition to the Ogle County Courthouse lawn with hopes that tourism dollars will follow. The image below is a screen capture from that article, and excerpts follow.
“This area draws tourists and tourism draws dollars,” said State Representative Jerry Mitchell (R-Rock Falls) during a grand opening ceremony for the structure Nov. 28. “Hopefully, tourists will stop at the gazebo and spend some time and money here.”
The gazebo is one of 16 constructed along the Illinois Lincoln Highway National Scenic Byway and its corridor in northern Illinois.
It was recently constructed on the northwest corner of the courthouse square, facing Ill. 64 just one block west of Ill. 2.
Bonnie Heimbach, project director for the Illinois Highway Lincoln Coalition (ILHC) said Oregon qualified for a federal grant to help construct the gazebo because the city was part of early marketing efforts soon after the coast-to-coast highway was opened in 1913.
“Oregon is not exactly on the highway, but it is mentioned as early as 1915,” said Heimbach.
The Lincoln Highway is located south of Oregon and runs east to west, through Franklin Grove and Dixon. It was the first highway in the United States to connect the east and west coasts.
Oregon and Ogle County are included in the Lincoln Highway corridor because Lorado Taft’s Black Hawk statue was part of the cover of the original promotional flyer that advertised the first all-weather transcontinental highway, said Marcia Heuer, executive director of the Oregon Area Chamber of Commerce….
Each gazebo was constructed for $16,000 with a National Scenic Byway Grant from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). That grant provided 80 percent of the funding for each gazebo with local groups providing the remaining 20 percent.
WIFR-TV also covered the story.