The pride of community is prominently displayed in Princeton's residential settings. Bursts of floral color and ornamental shrubs highlight the town's many well-kept lawns. Stately shade trees line the streets of older sections, setting off the impressive architecture of turn-of-the-century homes well cared for during the years.
A city with so rich a history as Princeton sports an elegant collection of magnificent older homes of historical significance. A drive down Park Avenue East or Park Avenue West, for instance, reveals homes of classic Italianate architecture and Georgian, Greek and Colonial Revival styles - some dating pre-Civil War, and many listed by the Bureau County Architectural Preservation Society.
There's a charm to just about any neighborhood here. Large or small, old or new, the range of established homes provides varied and interesting buying or rental choices.
An incredible variety of quality goods and friendly, personalized service is available in Princeton. From popular specialty gift and antique shops to furniture, hardware and appliance stores, from clothiers and fashion boutiques to automobile dealerships and major discount department stores - Princeton's wide array of businesses can accomodate every shopper's needs. Refreshments can be found at one of the many restaurants and eateries. And summer features the best of area produce at Princeton's own Farmers' Market, a tradition that adds to this city's bustling and friendly appeal.
Princeton in fact serves as the retail and service center for Bureau County, attracting consumers from a wide trade area with a base population of 100,000.
Providing a base for Princeton's commercial endeavors are three locally-owned, full-service banks and one savings bank. Their friendly, helpful attitude matches that of the retail community.
Fine recreational facilities, many organized activities, and great natural resources make Princeton a leisure-time delight for all ages and interests year round. From golf, swimming, tennis and various organized sports; special-interest clubs including art, theatre, photography and crafts; to all kinds of activities at special city celebrations and the county fairÑit's all a part of this community's enthusiasm and charm.
Home of the Bureau County Metro Center
Leading the list of outstanding facilities is the Bureau County Metro Center, an impressive $3.7 million, 35,000-square-foot complete recreational center constructed with funding assistance from Princeton's Alfred H. Shoemake Community Foundation and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs.
Among the facilities found within this modern, bi-level structure are a full-sized gymnasium, 25-yard indoor swimming pool, racquetball courts, weight room, cardiovascular area, locker rooms, sauna, and an elevated running and walking track that circles the gym.
A theatre area with seating for 300 provides a space for performing arts.
But those utilizing this facility are not limited to activities only within its confines. In a protected natural area adjacent to the pool is an outdoor sunning space perfect for working on a summer tan. And just behind the gym, nestled in the Center's 10-acre wooded setting, is an outdoor tennis, basketball and recreation area that allows patrons to combine getting some sun with a good old-fashioned workout.
Organized programs, classes and activities add to the recreational opportunities available at the Metro Center. There is no doubt that this exceptional facility is one that all the residents of Bureau County and Princeton can be proud of.
City parks and Facilities
Princeton's many tree-shaded city parks and fine recreational facilites are popular leisure-time respites for area residents. The Princeton Park District is enjoyed by young and not-so-young alike, and encompasses a total of seven parks covering approximately 170 acres in and around Princeton.
Alexander Park, on Princeton's west side, is equipped with a large outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, children's playground equipment, restrooms and a picnic shelter.
City-County Park, located north of Princeton, has shady picnic areas, outdoor grills, shelters, ball diamonds and nature trails, and is a family favorite. Another great park is Zearing Park, located in the south end of town.
Sparkling fountains with playing waters highlight the beautiful in-town Darius Miller Park, which also features landscaped rest areas and a large shelter for community use and special events.
The nearby Illinois River and the Hennepin Canal Parkway provide lots of recreational delights for fishing, hunting and boating enthusiasts.
Princeton is also home to the Bureau County Fair, held in August. The oldest fair in Illinois, it features one of the largest 4-H shows in the state. The fairgrounds are used regularly for a variety of exhibits, shows and entertainment programs, as well.
Fun and entertainment abound at Princeton's many city-sponsored celebrations. Perhaps the most grand is the Homestead Festival held each September. This family event features craft shows, a pork barbecue, ice cream social, live entertainment and much, much more.
Other local celebrations include Beef Day, Farmers' Markets, art shows and Christmas Open House, as well as a variety of other downtown promotions.
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