Freeport and Stephenson County families live close to nature
and enjoy the great outdoors in any season. They make full use
of city parks, county parks, and a 715-acre state park contained
within the countys boundaries.
The Freeport Park District maintains more than 770 acres of
parkland in eight parks, a nature preserve, and a new wetlands
preserve. In addition, the district operates Park Hills Golf Course,
with two 18-hole courses.
The largest of the citys parks is heavily wooded Krape
Park, site of a picturesque waterfall that tumbles down from a
high limestone bluff, an operating carousel, a handsome band shell,
nature trails, miniature golf course, tennis courts, a baseball
field, playground, picnic tables, a duck pond, boat rentals, and
a concession stand. Yellow Creek meanders through a portion of
Thirty-six-acre Read Park, the location of the Park Districts
headquarters, features an Aquatic Center swim complex of pools
and a huge water slide. In addition, it has ball fields, tennis,
basketball, and shuffleboard courts, floral gardens, a playground,
sand volleyball, picnic sites, and concession stands. A community
room in the park is available to community organizations and individuals.
Taylor Park, on the citys northeast side, is the site
of the Lincoln "The Debater" statue. In addition, Taylor
Park offers softball fields, a playground, a basketball court,
a tennis court, sand volleyball, picnic area, and a shelter house.
The Park Districts Oakdale Nature Preserve covers 133
acres and offers a lodge with kitchen and dining facilities for
overnight stays, a nature center, nature trails, a native prairie,
team building course, and an auditorium.
Area golfers enjoy the challenges offered by the 36 holes at
the Districts Park Hills Golf Course. Among the features
of Park Hills are a driving range, clubhouse with a grill and
a pro shop, instructions by a golf professional, cart rentals,
horseshoe courts, and the Jets Observatory that opens at dusk
for star gazing through a 12-inch telescope. Many other excellent
golf courses are within an hour of Freeport, including the world-class
golf courses at the luxurious Galena Territory development.
The Freeport Park District plans and conducts a comprehensive,
year-around program of sports, activities, and recreation for
residents of all ages. Among the instructions offered are swimming,
golf, and boccie ball lessons, ceramics, photography, euchre,
and holiday crafts. The District also organizes a variety of sports
leagues for adults and teens, and plans trips to special locations
and events for all age groups.
The Stephenson County Senior Center, in Freeport, provides a
wide ranging program of activities and events specially designed
for active senior citizens.
A short distance north of Lena, in northwest Stephenson County,
is Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Park, with 177 camping sites on its 715
acres. In addition, the park has a 40-acre lake for swimming,
boating, and fishing, seven miles of trails, and a concession
stand. Bikers can explore the 21 miles of the Pecatonica Prairie
Path between Freeport and Rockford.
The programs of Freeports YMCA and YWCA offer additional
recreation and fitness activities for residents. The YMCA shares
the space and facilities of the Sports Center on the campus of
Highland Community College. The building features a 25-meter,
six-lane swimming pool, two saunas and two whirlpools, three indoor
racquetball courts, two gymnasiums, a walking/running track, a
batting cage, a game lobby, Universal gym, Iron Works, and Nautilus
The Freeport YWCA is located close to downtown and offers an
indoor swimming pool, indoor racquetball courts, and privately
managed state-of-the-art fitness facility.
The smaller communities of Stephenson County also boast expansive
park systems for outdoor family fun. Lenas Lions Park, for
example, features a new swimming complex with a high water slide
called "Splash Land." The Lena Golf Club has two courses,
the nine-hole Stagecoach Course and the 18-hole Wolf Hollow Course.
In Pearl City, there are four well-equipped parks for family fun.
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Freeport School District 145 is committed. Theyre committed
to giving all students a solid educational base on which to build
a lifetime of success. Theyre committed to encouraging families
to take an active and meaningful part in their schools.
Each year, 5,000 students from Freeport and the nearby communities
of Cedarville and Ridott attend District 145. First-to-fourth
grade students attend Blackhawk, Center, Empire, Lincoln-Douglas
and Taylor Park elementary schools. Carl Sandburg Middle School
serves the fifth and sixth graders before they head on to Freeport
Junior High School for the seventh and eighth grade and four years
at Freeport High School.
The districts newest school serves the areas youngest
students. The Jones-Farrar Early Learning Center opened in 1995
and was designed with young learners in mind. The center also
houses a Head Start classroom, Northwest Illinois
| Special Education
Preschool, the at-risk preschool program Prekindergarten Active
Steps to Success and the YMCA Day Care.
Each day in District 145, the 700 faculty, staff and administration
members work hard to educate the whole child. Building on a foundation
of reading, math, language arts and other academic basics enhanced
by consistent use of technology, District 145 is preparing students
for the 21st Century. The curriculum covers science, social studies
and other academics, but also addresses the social, emotional,
intellectual and physical needs of the children who come to their
schools. The district is proud of its award winning sports, music,
and activities programs. Discussions of substance abuse, ody safety,
personal health and non-violent conflict resolution encourage
health emotional and social growth. Special needs are met through
programs such as Title I, Special Education, Speech and Gifted
In each school, students have regular access to computers in
the classroom or in labs.
When District 145 students leave five grade schools and come
together at Carl Sandburg Middle School, they come to an environment
structured toward preparing students for the academic and social
challenges of junior high and high school. Students are grouped
into traditional or multi-grade teams, remaining with the same
group of students throughout their two years at Carl Sandburg.
In addition to their rigorous academic studies, students attend
PRIME TIME, the daily advisory period, where the focus is on personal
development: self-esteem, multi-cultural diversity, conflict resolution,
goal setting and problem solving.
Students are also encouraged to develop leadership skills as
Representatives of Active Participating Students who represent
their classmates in discussions of school activities and procedures
and as sixth-grade Ambassadors who perform school and community
At Freeport Junior High School, a team approach is also used
to provide core instruction in math, science, social studies,
physical education and language arts. Elective opportunities include
band, orchestra, foreign languages, home economics, industrial
technology, art and computers. A range of sports, arts, and service
programs are offered as extra-curricular activities.
A comprehensive menu of electives and extracurricular activities
awaits students at Freeport High School. With the emphasis still
firmly on the basics, students have the chance to explore arts,
foreign languages, journalism, business education, computer science
and technology, and vocational programs through the countywide
vocational and technical education systems, SAVTES.
District 145 is proud to see their students go on to the best
colleges and universities around the country. District 145 offers
each student a high-quality education and works to raise the bar
year after year.
Freeport offers excellent alternatives to public education in
several private and parochial systems. Freeport Christian Academy
is a K-12 school operated at the Freeport Baptist Church and has
a small enrollment.
Tri-County Christian School has two campuses in Freeport and
enrolls about 185 students in preschool through the eight grade.
The core curriculum includes strong emphasis on public speaking,
creative writing, and computers skills in addition to the basics
of reading, language arts, math and science. The school offers
a "latchkey" program for youngsters in first through
Freeport Catholic Elementary School and Aquin Catholic Junior/
Senior High School combine to provide a complete, faith-centered
first through 12th grade academic education. A new preschool at
St. Thomas Church provides educational activities for children
three to five years of age. The elementary school houses kindergarten
through the sixth grade. The curriculum is broad based and focuses
on the basics.
Aquin Catholic Junior/Senior High School has more than 200 students
enrolled in seventh through 12th grade. Its college prep courses
emphasize communication skills, social studies, math and science.
Daily religion classes help to instill Christian values in students.
A full 95 percent of graduates go on to some form of higher education.
The school encourages participation in a wide range of extracurricular
activities, including National Honor Society, yearbook, student
council, and an Interactive Service Club. Students can also participate
in a broad schedule of sports and athletics and in band and music
The 140-acre campus of Highland Community College sprawls with
grace and beauty on Freeports west side. The two-year college
serves a district population of 90,000 from Stephenson, Ogle,
Jo Daviess, and Carroll Counties. Each semester, the college enrolls
approximately 7,500 students who range from 16 to 86 years of
age. The average age of students is 32.
The Highland campus has seven buildings: the Liberal Arts Center,
the Science Center, the Technology Center, the Community Services
Center, the Sports Center, and the Student/Conference Center.
Included on the campus is a natural prairie, woodland, a pond,
outdoor study areas, four softball diamonds, a baseball field,
physical education fields, and a multipurpose athletic field.
A mile-long paved and lighted bike
path links the college to the edge of Freeport.An
encircling roadway gives access to several parking areas.
College awards Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate
of Engineering Science, and Associate in General Studies degrees
in 28 majors, including agriculture, business administration, computer
science, history, music, physics, political science, pre-medicine,
psychology, theatre, and others. It awards certificates in 21 different
In addition, the college awards Associate of Applied Science
in 17 career subjects. Staying current with technology, Highland
has 275 computers in seven labs dedicated to student use. Each
student has an E-mail account.
The colleges Community and Corporate Education (CCE) division
offers creative programming to meet the needs and interests of
area individuals, groups, and businesses. To achieve this goal,
CCE offers credit and non-credit classes, workshops and seminars,
adult basic education, workplace literacy and customized contract
courses, and activities for children and senior citizens.
Highland Colleges CCE has five major components: Adult
Education, Community Education, Continuing Education, Retired
and Senior Volunteer Program, and Workforce Development.
The Adult Education Program is composed of literacy classes,
adult basic education, general education development preparation
courses, English as a second language instruction, career exploration/job
skills classes, and workplace literacy classes. Community Education
offers non-credit and non-vocational courses designed to appeal
to the general public.
Continuing Education offers both credit and non-credit courses,
mostly during evening hours at extension sites throughout the
college district. Highland College serves as a sponsoring organization
for RSVP, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of the Corporation
for National Service. Highlands Workforce Development Center
provides customized training to companies throughout the Freeport
Students who have achieved an Associate Degree can complete
their college work at the Highland Community College campus, thanks
to Columbia College, which has its main campus in Columbia, Missouri.
Columbia conducts evening and Saturday classes that lead to four
different degrees: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration,
Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems, Bachelor
of Arts in Business Administration, and Bachelor of Arts in Individual
Proximity to Rockford allows Freeport students to commute for
higher education opportunities. Rockford College, a private, liberal
arts college, awards bachelor degrees in nearly 50 majors. At
its Rockford Education Center, Northern Illinois University offers
about 35 courses in Business, Education, Engineering and Engineering
Technology, Health and Human Sciences, and Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Freeport students also commute to classes at NIUs main campus
in DeKalb. Highly skilled physicians are training at the University
of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford. Beloit College, in
Beloit, Wisconsin, is about the same distance from Freeport as
is Rockford College.
Of course, the famed universities in Chicago are also available
to Freeport area students. Among these are the University of Illinois-Chicago,
the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Loyola University,
and DePaul University.
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Freeport boasts more than 200 national, regional and local stores
offering an array of brand-name merchandise at value-oriented
prices. A number of shops and boutiques also carry an assortment
of handcrafted items and other special offerings. Friendly, courteous
service is always part of the pleasure when shopping in Freeport.
More than 100 of these commercial outlets are located in downtown
Freeport, the citys major shopping district. Everything
is available from downtown merchants and consumer services suppliers
including appliances, computers, accounting services, legal services,
antiques and collectibles, art and craft supplies, banks, picture
frames, flowers, videos, CDs and tapes, sporting goods,
cleaners, hardware and building supplies, food products, fashionable
shoes and clothes for the whole family, fine jewelry and gifts.
Nearly a dozen coffee shops and restaurants are situated in the
downtown area serving shoppers and the thousands of people who
work in the offices, stores and manufacturing facilities of downtown
Lincoln Mall, on West Galena Avenue, on the citys northwest
side, offers the comfort of indoor shopping at a large home improvement
center, a furniture store, and a dozen other quality shops. An
Eagle Country Market food store is also conveniently located on
the northwest side. A variety of other stores and restaurants
are clustered in the vicinity. Shopping and restaurant opportunities
continue west on Galena Avenue all the way to the neighboring
town of Lena.
Another major shopping area is growing on the citys south
side. The Meadows Shopping Center located on Highway 26 South
is a large, convenient shopping center anchored by a Big K-Mart
and a J.C. Penney department store with additional smaller specialty
shops and service providers. The other shopping centers on South
Street and West Avenue are home to several stores that meet a
wide variety of needs -- from sewing and crafts to toys, home
furnishings and home decor. Three major supermarkets and a number
of restaurants satisfy many food needs. The south side is also
home to Walmart and Shopko department stores, and several automobile
Visitors frequently tour Stephenson County in search of bargains.
They find then in the dozens of antique malls and shops and in
small town markets. For example, in Lena, located on scenic Stagecoach
Trail, shopping is still done in locally owned stores that face
each other across railroad tracks, remembering a time when the
railroad was vital to the economy of the community.
Within an easy hours drive, a multitude of other shopping
opportunities await in places like Rockford, Galena, Madison,
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A highly diverse collection of business and industry is well
established in Freeport and Stephenson County. The city is a center
for the insurance industry, with such well known names as The
St. Paul, General Casualty, Western States Insurance, Trustmark,
Kemper, and Viking Insurance. It is also a major industrial center,
with four Fortune 500 companies on its lengthy roster of manufacturing
The citys largest employer is Honeywells Micro Switch
division, which has several plants in various locations within
the city and county. This world class company makes a wide variety
of switches, sensors, and related interface and local control
components for the OEM market. It has more than 3,000 workers.
The 300-acre industrial campus of Kelly-Springfield Tire Company
is in the rural area southeast of Freeport. The firms 1,700
workers produce automobile, truck, and farm tractor tires.
With 1,000 employees, the Newell Window Furnishings Company
makes drapery hardware and window treatments under the brand names
of Newell, Levolor, Magic Fit, Spectrim, Joanna, and Kirsch. The
parent company of Newell Window Furnishings is Newell Company,
which also has its worldwide headquarters in Freeport.
Among Freeports other major employers is Furst-McNess
Company, founded in Freeport in 1908. Furst-McNess makes and distributes
feed premix for farm animals, plus a large variety of household
products,flavoring, desserts, mustards, and spices. It employs
about 250 people.
Sauer-Sundstrand, with some 350
workers, produces hydrostatic pump and motor components. More
than 300 professionals are employed at the headquarters of Newell
Co., located in downtown Freeport. Anchor-Harvey has about 150
workers and produces nonferrous forgings, brass and aluminum alloys,
and does general machining for various
manufacturers and aerospace contractors.
Star Manufacturing Company has about 80 workers and produces plow
replacement parts and industrial
Ultrasonic Power Corporation has
30 employees and produces ultrasonic power
supplies and components for the ultrasonic cleaning and
biotechnical markets both here and abroad.
A wide range of products originate
in the Freeport area. They include potato chips, rebuilt engines,
ready mix concrete, plastic molded model railroad switch stands,
cultured marble, trophies, cheese, municipal water treating systems,
packaging, roll forming and sheet metal working machinery, molded
plastics, automation equipment,
vending machines and snack
An Enterprise Zone established
several years ago, encompasses
Freeports primary industrial sector, plus
an expanding commercial area on the citys south side. Companies
in the Enterprise Zone can take advantage of a variety of economic
incentives. The attraction of the Zone has helped the community
acquire its Walmart and Shopko
department stores and the
Seaga Manufacturing Co.
A Tax Increment Finance district
established about the same time as the Enterprise Zone covers
Freeports central business district and a small area of
the old industrial section. It seeks to encourage restoration
and redevelopment of downtown business facades and other improvements.
An organization known as Freeport
Downtown Development was formed in 1998 to focus on the process
of downtown transformation for the 21st century.
Agriculture continues to contribute
strongly to the areas
economy. More than 1,400 farms in Stephenson County raise beef
and dairy cattle and produce corn, soybean, hay, oats, and other
cash crops. The largest dairy producing county in Illinois, Stephenson
County has 23,000 dairy cows producing 346,344,000 pounds of milk
annually. The market value of all farm products sold is
Business travelers to Freeport
have a wide choice of excellent
accommodations in six hotels and motels with more than 300 rooms.
In addition, there are attractive bed and breakfast establishments
in Lena and Orangeville. Meeting and banquet facilities will seat
as many as 550 persons. The more than 70 restaurants in Freeport
and Stephenson County offer a wide variety of menus from fast-food
to ethnic cuisine.
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Excellent health care is readily available to Freeport and Stephenson
County residents through a hospital facility in Freeport and clinics
and other medical services in the smaller towns and villages.
The Freeport Health Network, organized in 1995, is made up of
Freeport Memorial Hospital, the Freeport Clinic, Family Medical
Clinic, the Leonard C. Ferguson Cancer Center, Home Health Care
and Hospice, HealthWorks Occupational Health Services, Urgent
Care, and individual physicians throughout the area. The Network
provides broad health care services for Stephenson and other counties
in Northwest Illinois. The hospital and the Ferguson Cancer Center
are affiliated with the University of Wisconsin Hospital, Clinics,
and School of Medicine.
With 76 physicians on its medical staff, 200-bed Freeport Memorial
Hospital offers a wide range of services, including sophisticated
echocardiography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), full body
CT scanning, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, mammography, laser
surgery, lithotripsy, intensive-coronary care and cardiac rehabilitation,
and physical, occupational, respiratory, and speech therapies.
The hospital operates a Family Birthing Center that features
labor, delivery, recovery, and postpartum rooms for each patient;
a Sleep Center; Pain Clinic; Cataract Center; Continence Clinic;
and the Freeport Regional Health Plan.
Memorial Hospitals 24-hour emergency service is staffed
by physicians and nurses specially trained in emergency medicine.
It is a state-designated Level II Emergency Care Center and also
a Poison Control Center for the area.
The Freeport Clinic occupies a modern structure across Stephenson
Street from Freeport Memorial. Organized in 1945, it has grown
in number of physicians and services and operates four satellite
facilities to serve the rural areas of Stephenson County.
The Monroe Clinic, established for
more than 50 years, operates in eight locations, two of which are
Freeport and Lena. The Clinic, as a whole, has
80 physicians on
staff who are trained in 30 medical
specialties and subspecialties.
Fifteen health care professionals serve the medical needs of Freeport
area patients. The services of the Monroe Clinic include cardiology,
dermatology, emergency medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, internal
medicine, optometry, orthopaedics, psychiatry, general surgery,
thoracic surgery, vascular
surgery, sport medicine, and others.
Dozens of doctors, dentists, and
other medical professionals have offices in Freeport and Stephenson
Three high quality nursing homes
offering skilled short and long-term care are located in Freeport.
Several more are found throughout Stephenson County and in neighboring
counties. Three facilities provide treatment for substance abuse.
Two provided mental health services.
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Residents dial 911 for emergency assistance. Police squad cars
are equipped with mobile data terminals to enhance response time
and provide officers with needed information. Among the public
service programs maintained by the Police Department are the national
D.A.R.E. drug awareness program, Neighborhood Watch.
The Freeport Fire Department operates out of three strategically
placed fire stations, serving the community and surrounding areas.
The city has a fire insurance rating of Class 3 in the city and
Class 8 in rural areas.
Freeport is the seat of Stephenson County government, giving
the city administration proximity to county officials and opportunities
to work cooperatively on issues of joint interest.
City leaders also work closely with the Freeport Chamber of
Commerce and the Economic Development Foundation in seeking to
expand existing business and industry and attract new firms to
the community. Joint leadership efforts are responsible for the
citys highly successful five-square-mile Enterprise Zone
and the new enterprises it has drawn to the community.
The City of Freeport operates its own water utility, obtaining
water from five wells. Plant capacity is 14,000,000 gallons per
day, well in excess of peak consumption. The citys waste
water treatment plant operates with 2 million gallons excess capacity.
Residents obtain natural gas from Nicor, NI Gas. Electricity
is furnished by ComEd. Telephone service is provided by GTE.
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