There will be historical presentations at six sites within the park every half-hour through 4 p.m.
Even those familiar with the park see something new or engaging with each visit, said Lucas Pauley, director of marketing for the park district.
“I just went out there the other day to take some pictures,” Pauley said. “I feel like every time I go out there, I notice something different. There’s something to learn or read.”
The sites featured on the tour are the Lowell Pinetum, the Ruth Edwards Nature Center, Lowell Shelter, Vaile Shelter, Reagan Bathhouse and Woodcote cottage.
Deb Crowson, a 32-year member of the Kiwanis Club, will talk about the role the nature center serves.
Former Dixon mayor and attorney Jim Dixon, a descendant of the man who blazed Kellogg’s Trail, will discuss the ecological purpose of the Pinetum (which is pronounced pie-NEE-tum, by the way).
Ron Pritchard, a longtime member of the park board, will share the story of Lowell Shelter.
Jerry Schnake, who manages the volunteer staff at Reagan Boyhood Home, will provide background on the bathhouse, once the most popular site in the park, and how Ronald Reagan served as a lifeguard from 1926 to 1932.
Teresa Smith is an outdoors enthusiast who will share insights on the unique design and construction of Woodcote.
Tom Wadsworth, who conducted the research for all the presentations, will reveal the history of the Vaile and Pitcher shelters, their design and why they got their names.
The park faces the Rock River and has boat access. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 2006.
The park encompasses Lowell Forest, an Illinois Nature Preserve. Within it is a hairpin-curve road that leads to Lowell Shelter and the Overlook.
The park lands were donated to the city in 1906 by Carlotta Lowell, daughter of a fallen Civil War general.
Limestone structures were constructed as public works projects.
Information about the history of Lowell Park taken from the application filed with the United States Department of Interior and the National Park Service in 2002.
1826. Boles Trail from Peoria to Galena crosses the park between what is now the Pinetum and the South Road.
1836. John Richards builds a house on the property.
1842. Land surveyed by Col. William Hamilton, son of Alexander Hamilton.
1860. Charles Russell Lowell Jr. of Burlington, Iowa, purchased property. He was killed at Battle of Cedar Creek in 1864 and it was inherited by daughter Carlotta.
1906. Park is offered to the city of Dixon.
1907. Grand opening attended by an estimated 6,000 people for a Merchants picnic.
1908. A superintendent is appointed to implement conservation and architectural plans made by the Olmsted Brothers architectural firm of Boston. Those plans include a caretaker’s house, the Woodcote, made of limestone quarried on the site.
1911. O.C. Simonds becomes park supervisor.
1921. Bus service from Dixon, a longer dock at the beach, a bathhouse and electric service are added to the park. The new lights allow the beach to stay open until 10 p.m.
1926. Ronald Reagan applies for the job of lifeguard.
1933. Civil Works Administration projects begin for stone piers at entrance, building shelters, roads and hardwood picnic tables.
1934. Pine seedlings placed in the Pinetum. Work relief superintendent for Lee County was J.E. Reagan, father of Ronald Reagan.
1942. Commissioners report that, after 35 years, the park improvements established by O.C. Simonds’ plans were completed.
1959. Beach closed because of disuse after the opening of Memorial Pool in Vaile Park.
1960s. Playground equipment installed.
1978. Nature center building erected by Kiwanis Club. Charles Walgreen Jr. donates a parcel of 43 acres bordering the south side of the park.