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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Oregon in Ogle County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Welcome to Lowden State Park

 
 
Welcome to Lowden State Park Marker image. Click for full size.
October 31, 2021
1. Welcome to Lowden State Park Marker
Inscription.  
Whether you're here to stroll, picnic, camp, or just enjoy the scenic views of the Rock River, Lowden State Park welcomes you. The park is open year-round, and offers foot trails, more than 100 campsites, and even an inexpensive cabin that can be reserved. Enjoy exploring this Illinois State Park gem.

A Bohemian Retreat
In 1898, Chicago attorney Wallace Heckman and his wife invited a group of artists and writers to summer on their estate along the Rock River. The artists enjoyed the rustic location and the cool respite from the Chicago heat. They formed a lease agreement with the Heckmans, establishing what would eventually be known as the Eagle's Nest Art Colony.

Over the years, the colony grew from a tent camp to a more permanent compound, including a central dining hall, two studios, and a number of cottages. Each summer, the resident artists and their families enjoyed dances, games, and outdoor recreation, and produced musical performances, lectures, plays, and elaborate pageants.

A New Career for the Art Colony
Artists continued to gather at Eagle's Nest until 1942, when
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the last founding member died and the colony's lease expired. Shortly afterward, the State of Illinois, assisted by local residents, purchased 273 acres of land, including the Eagle's Nest colony, for a memorial to Illinois governor Frank O. Lowden (1865-1943). The park was designated in 1945.

In 1951, 66 acres of Lowden State Park were transferred to Northern Illinois University at Dekalb, including the 15 acres that had been the original art colony. Today, the former art colony, known as the Lorado Taft Field Campus of NIU, is used year-round for conducting natural science classes in an outdoor setting.

In 1843—long before the art colony was established—poet Margaret Fuller visited the bluffs over the Rock River. She named a spring below the bluff Ganymede Spring and wrote her poem "Ganymede, to His Eagle" white sitting under a cedar on the bluff above. The Eagle's Nest Art Colony was named for that picturesque tree. An island in the river below is known as Margaret Fuller Island.

The Eagle's Nest Art Colony
When you walk the trails at Lowden State Park, you're following in the footsteps of some of Chicago's most prominent early 20th century artists. From the late 1890s to the early 1940s, these bluffs provided recreation and inspiration for a summer artists colony.

 
Erected by
Black Hawk statue near the marker image. Click for full size.
October 31, 2021
2. Black Hawk statue near the marker
Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicParks & Recreational Areas. A significant historical year for this entry is 1898.
 
Location. 42° 2.051′ N, 89° 19.984′ W. Marker is near Oregon, Illinois, in Ogle County. Marker can be reached from North River Road (County Route 33) south of East Park Road, on the right when traveling south. The marker stands in Lowden State Park behind the Black Hawk statue. The park can be entered by car from North River Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1411 N River Rd, Oregon IL 61061, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Black Hawk Statue (here, next to this marker); Lorado Taft (here, next to this marker); The Black Hawk War (a few steps from this marker); Lincoln Highway (approx. 1.4 miles away); The Lincoln Highway - The nation's first coast-to-coast highway! (approx. 1.4 miles away); Illinois Lincoln Highway (approx. 1.4 miles away); a different marker also named Illinois Lincoln Highway (approx. 1.4 miles away); Fallen Soldiers Memorial (approx. 1.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Oregon.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 2, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 1, 2021. This page has been viewed 131 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 1, 2021. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 25, 2024