Dixon, Illinois — The fireplace in the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home at 816 S. Hennepin Ave. The Reagan family lived here for about 2 years beginning in 1920, when Ronald Reagan was 9 years old.

After decades of neglect, the house was virtually gutted in the early 1980s 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 the four pennies seen in this secret hiding place 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 $10 million restoration.

Official website: Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home

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