Freeport Travel Guide

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Freeport Travel Guide

Freeport Local History

German settlers from Pennsylvania started arriving in the Freeport area in 1827. One of these settlers, William "Tutty" Baker, is considered to be the founder of Freeport. He built a trading post on the banks of the Pecatonica River and began operating a free ferry across the river. He is reputed to have even invited travelers into his home for meals and lodging. Stephenson County was formed in 1837 and Freeport became its seat of government in 1838.

In 1840, a frame courthouse was erected and the first school was founded. Within two years, Freeport had two newspapers and the population grew to 2,000. On August 27, 1858, the most significant of the historic Lincoln-Douglas debates took place here. Although Douglas won the election and retained his senate seat, his stance on slavery alienated the South and caused a split in the Democratic Party. This enabled Lincoln to win the Presidency in 1860.

Freeport Attractions

Freeport Shopping

The city has several shopping districts. Downtown Freeport is where you'll find antiques and collectibles, art and craft supplies, banks, picture frames, flowers, videos, CD's and tapes, books, clothing, fine jewelry and gifts. In addition to these there are almost a dozen coffee shops and restaurants in this area. The Lincoln Mall features a large home improvement center, a furniture store, and a dozen other quality shops. On the south-east side of town you will find the Meadows Shopping Center with department and discount stores, auto dealers, grocery stores, smaller specialty shops and service providers.

Freeport Activities

Read Park - 1200 Park Lane Drive, Freeport Tel (815) 235 6114. The Family Aquatic Center in Read Park boasts a zero depth pool, water slides, play areas, and a sand volleyball area. This scenic park is the perfect place for the whole family to let off some steam. Other features include baseball and softball diamonds, tennis courts, a concession stand, picnic areas, shelters, and playgrounds including one designed specifically for physically challenged children. Open daily from dawn to 10.30 pm.

SK 8 - Freeport - Read Park, 1200 Park Lane Drive, Freeport Tel (815) 235 6114. This is Freeport's newest park attraction. Located in Read Park, this Skate Park offers 11,000 square feet of skateboard heaven. It has obstacles, ramps, rails, ledges, spines and bowls. It was built specifically for skateboards and in-line roller skates and the "street course" mimics skateable features and obstacles found throughout the community. Helmets are pads are required. Open from dawn to 10.30 pm.

4 Seasons Bowling Centre - 1100 W. Galena Avenue, Freeport Tel (815) 235 6145. This forty lane bowling centre with automatic scoring, Thunder Alley sound and light experience is open to the public on Sunday, noon to 10 pm; Monday, noon to 10 pm; Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, noon to midnight; Wednesday, 9 am to 10 pm and Friday, 9 am to midnight.

Freeport Parks & Gardens

Krape Park - 1799 S. Park Boulevard, Freeport Tel (815) 235 6114. This beautiful city park features an old-fashioned carousel, a waterfall, a seasonal duck pond, a miniature golf course, a 12-hole disc golf course, tennis courts, a baseball diamond, a quarter mile nature trail, a concession stand, paddle boats, canoes, a performance amphitheater (the Koenig Theatre), gardens, picnic areas, shelters, and playgrounds including "Kid's Kastle". And all of this in one park! What more can you ask for?

The Yellow Creek Adventure Golf Course (miniature golf) is open daily in the summer from noon to dusk. The carousel is open only on weekends, from noon to dusk, before Memorial Day and from Memorial Day to Labor Day, it is open daily from noon to dusk. Admission for the carousel is four rides for $1.00. Paddle boats can also be rented.

Oakdale Nature Preserve - 4433 S. Crane's Grove Road, Freeport Tel (815) 233 5616 or 235 6114. Meander through four miles of winding trails of the 133 acres of oak and hickory woods, restored prairies and along two shallow streams. This is also an ideal skiing area in winter. Two picnic shelters as well as other picnic tables are located on the main grounds. Open from dawn to 10:30 pm.

Jane Addams Recreation Trail - Freeport to Orangeville Tel (815) 233 1357. This 13 mile recreational trail though beautiful scenery is highlighted by 21 decked bridges passing over and through wetlands, creeks, woods, prairies, geologic formations and farmland. The trail was named after Jane Addams, the humanitarian and public health pioneer, who was born and raised in nearby Cedarville. Its crushed limestone path may be used by hikers, bicyclists, snowmobiles, and cross-country skiers.

You can access the trail form the West Block Trail Access on Fairview Road, off Highway 20, two miles west of the Highway 26 intersection or from the Richland Creek Trailhead in Orangeville, on High Street, east of Highway 26. Trail maps are available. Open from dawn to dusk and until 11 pm for snowmobiling.

Freeport Restaurants and Bars

Freeport Restaurants

The Atrium - Ramada Inn, 1300 E. South Street, Freeport Tel (815) 297 9700. The Atrium offers a complete a la carte menu as well as a Friday night Seafood Buffet, a Saturday Prime Rib special, and a Sunday Champagne Brunch with an omelette bar and dessert table. They also have a children's menu and a full bar. Reservations are recommended. Open Sunday, Monday to Thursday 7 am to 2 pm; Friday and Saturday, 7am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 8 pm.

Cannova's - 1101 W. Empire Street, Freeport Tel (815) 233 0032. Cannova's has been a Freeport tradition since 1921. This Italian restaurant and lounge specialises in pasta, pizza, steak, fish, and chicken. Entertainment is provided and the restaurant also has a full bar. Open Sunday, 5 pm to 10 pm (lounge: closed); Tuesday to Thursday, 5 pm to 10.30 pm (lounge: 5 pm to Midnight); Friday and Saturday, 5 pm to 11.30 pm (lounge: 5 pm to 1 am).

Cimino's Little Italy - 421 N. Challenge Street, Freeport Tel (815) 235 3545. Combine a beautiful setting with exquisite Italian food, and you have what promises to be a fine dining experience. Delicious pizza is served in the outdoor beer garden. Open Sunday, 11 am to 10 pm; Monday to Wednesday, 11 am to midnight; Thursday to Saturday, 11 am to 2 am.

Freeport children's activities

Read Park - 1200 Park Lane Drive, Freeport Tel (815) 235 6114. The Family Aquatic Center in Read Park boasts a zero depth pool, water slides, play areas, and a sand volleyball area. This scenic park is the perfect place for the whole family to let off some steam. Other features include baseball and softball diamonds, tennis courts, a concession stand, picnic areas, shelters, and playgrounds including one designed specifically for physically challenged children. Open daily from dawn to 10.30 pm.

SK 8 - Freeport - Read Park, 1200 Park Lane Drive, Freeport Tel (815) 235 6114. This is Freeport's newest park attraction. Located in Read Park, this Skate Park offers 11,000 square feet of skateboard heaven. It has obstacles, ramps, rails, ledges, spines and bowls. It was built specifically for skateboards and in-line roller skates and the "street course" mimics skateable features and obstacles found throughout the community. Helmets are pads are required. Open from dawn to 10.30 pm.

4 Seasons Bowling Centre - 1100 W. Galena Avenue, Freeport Tel (815) 235 6145. This forty lane bowling centre with automatic scoring, Thunder Alley sound and light experience is open to the public on Sunday, noon to 10 pm; Monday, noon to 10 pm; Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, noon to midnight; Wednesday, 9 am to 10 pm and Friday, 9 am to midnight.

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