DIXON – The Historic Preservation Commission wants to recognize the faded footprints of the city’s Town Square block with a sign detailing its history.
The 3-foot-by-4-foot sign, to be located on West First Street near the corner of South Galena Avenue, would feature photos and a map of the more than 20 businesses that formerly inhabited the block, stretching from Galena to Hennepin avenues and First to Second streets.
Commissioners Jim Higby and John McLane approached the City Council last week to pay for half of the steel sign, which will cost about $3,200 with the city’s end being around $1,600.
“I think it’s a modest cost, and it’s going to preserve the history for a long, long time,” McLane said.
KSB Hospital, which operates the Town Square Centre Clinic at 102 W. First Street, has agreed to pay for the other half.
Mayor Li Arellano Jr. said the city normally helps support one or two projects a year from the Historic Preservation Commission, and the sign would be the first project this year.
The sign includes the names and years of operation of past businesses – all except City Hall were razed nearly 3 decades ago to make room for United States Fidelity & Guaranty Company, now Town Square Centre.
McLane, the architect who designed the USF&G building, said the structure helped to rejuvenate the downtown, but the history of the block is forgotten.
The buildings date back as far as the 1860s with the Keystone Hotel and include J.C. Penney, Owens Sport Shop, United Cigar & Lunch, Welch Insurance & Real Estate, Woolworth’s, and Hollywood Style Shop.
The sign would also include a brief history of the block.
“Over the years, there were several popular restaurants, two major department stores, a confectionery/soda fountain, a hotel, two five-and-dimes, a radio station studio, book stores, a cab stand, barber shops, an insurance and real estate agency, a bakery and a variety of shops selling quality clothing and shoes for both men and women,” the sign reads.
Go to discoverdixon.org or call City Hall at 815-288-1485 for more information on the Historic Preservation Commission.