Dixon, Illinois — The fireplace in the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home at 816 S. Hennepin Ave. The Reagan family moved here in 1920, when Ronald Reagan was 9 years old. The Reagans moved from here to anther Dixon home in 1923.

Following decades of neglect, the house was virtually gutted after Reagan became president in 1981, and restored to its 1920 appearance with furniture from that period.

President Reagan revisited his boyhood home on February 6, 1984, to celebrate his 73rd birthday. During that visit, Reagan “found” a loose tile in the fireplace hearth where he remembered hiding coins in his boyhood, and he personally added four pennies to this secret hiding place, seen at bottom right. A photo of Reagan placing the pennies here is available as a souvenir postcard.

During our visit, our guide was unable to explain to my wife Amy how that particular secret tile had remained loose, despite the home’s complete gutting and restoration.

Official website: Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home

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