Birthplace of Ronald Reagan
Birthplace of Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan's birthplace (center).
|Location||Tampico, Whiteside County, Illinois, USA|
|Architect||Fred Harvey Seymour (builder)|
|Part of||Tampico Main Street Historic District (#82002602)|
|Added to NRHP||June 3, 1982|
The Birthplace of Ronald Reagan, also known as the Graham Building, is located in an apartment on the second floor of a late 19th-century commercial building in Tampico, Illinois, United States. The building was built in 1896 and housed a tavern from that time until 1915. On February 6, 1911 the future 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, was born in the apartment there, the family moving into a house in Tampico a few months later.
The building was constructed in 1896 for G.W. Stauffer by Fred Harvey Seymour and later became known as the "Graham Building". From 1896–1915 the first floor of the building housed a tavern while the second floor contained an apartment. On October 1, 1906 Jack and Nelle Reagan moved into the apartment above the tavern. The Reagans had two sons while they lived in the apartment. In 1908, they had their first son, John Neil Reagan. Their second son, Ronald Wilson Reagan, was born on February 6, 1911 inside the second floor apartment. Family legend has it that when Jack first saw his ten-pound baby son, he said, “He looks like a fat little Dutchman. But who knows, he might grow up to be president some day.” In a small town like Tampico in 1911, a new baby was such big news that four days after the birth the Tampico Tornado newspaper printed the rather unusual birth announcement that read, “February 10, 1911 John REAGAN has been calling thirty-seven inches a yard and giving seventeen ounces for a pound this week at PITNEY’s store, he has been feeling so jubilant over the arrival of a ten pound boy Monday.”
The Reagans lived at the address from 1906 until May 5, 1911 when they moved into a house on Glassburn Street, also in Tampico. While the Reagans lived in Tampico, Jack was employed at the H.C. Pitney Variety Store, across the street from the Reagan Birthplace in the 100 block of Main Street.
The Reagans were in Tampico until Pitney's store closed in 1914, after which they settled in Chicago, Galesburg and Monmouth for various periods of time. Pitney's store reopened in 1919 and the Reagans returned to Tampico for a short time, where they lived in an apartment above the store. Pitney's store again closed and on December 6, 1920 the Reagans moved to Dixon, Illinois where they occupied the house that would later be known as the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home.
From 1915–1919 the building housed a bakery. The First National Bank located in the structure in 1919, where it remained until 1931. The bank's owner and president, R.F. Woods, served as mayor of Tampico from 1917–1919. In 1968 the building was purchased by Paul Nicely and his wife. After Mrs. Nicely died the building was put up for sale in 2003 and purchased by WPW Partners of Chicago.
The Reagan Birthplace is similar to most of the commercial buildings along Tampico's Main Street. It is brick, two-stories tall, has three second story windows and a cornice. Only the area's oldest buildings differ from the Reagan Birthplace's metal cornices and flat headed windows.
The structure known as Ronald Reagan's Birthplace is most notable for being the place where Ronald Reagan was born on February 6, 1911. The building's first floor interior has been restored as the First National Bank, which occupied the property from 1919–1931. On the second floor the apartment has been restored to the period when Reagan was born. The site offers tours to the public and is listed as a "significant" contributing property to the Tampico Main Street Historic District. The Main Street Historic District was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on June 3, 1982.
- Ward, Michael. "Main Street Historic District", (PDF), National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, 1 April 1982, HAARGIS Database, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Retrieved 10 July 2007.
- Picone; Louis L. Where the Presidents Were Born: The History & Preservation of the Presidential Birthplaces (2012)