Two Illinois Bicentennial Events Spotlight Rockford Area Historical Landmarks - Doors Open and Illinois’ 200th Anniversary Celebration honor the iconic Lake Peterson House and Barnes Mansion



August 23, 2018


ROCKFORD, IL — This weekend two Rockford area historical sites and architectural treasures prepare to celebrate Doors Open Illinois in conjunction with the Illinois Office of Tourism and other partners throughout Illinois. On Saturday, August 25 and Sunday, August 26 SwedishAmerican’s Lake Peterson House and Burpee Museum of Natural History’s Barnes Mansion will have their doors open to the public for educational tours. This is a great opportunity for visitors to learn more about these historic buildings and the Rockford region’s heritage.

“We are very proud to showcase two of our beloved historic landmarks during Illinois’ Bicentennial celebration. The Rockford region is known for having beautiful architectural buildings that tell remarkable stories of our past and the events this weekend give us the opportunity to show a couple of them off to the public in such a fun way,” said Andrea Cook, RACVB associate director of marketing & communications.


Events include:

SwedishAmerican’s Lake Peterson House

Address: 1313 East State Street, Rockford, IL

Tour Hours: Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Description: Tour this 1800s Victorian Gothic Revival home that is owned and maintained by SwedishAmerican Hospital. The house is a significant example of Gothic Revival architecture and is considered one of the finest such homes in the state of Illinois.

Lake Peterson House has received recognition from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and in 1974 won an Eye Delight award for refurbishing. The house was entered in the National Register of Historic Places on June 25, 1980. On August 27, 1982, it received an Approval of Historic Preservation Certificate. Since 1983, the Lake Peterson House has served as the offices for the president, senior vice president and other members of the SwedishAmerican executive staff.


Burpee Museum of Natural History’s Barnes Mansion

Address: 737 North Main Street, Rockford, IL

Tour Hours: Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Description: Leading furniture manufacturer in Rockford, the Barnes built the home in the 1890s as one of the most opulent homes in Rockford. The William Fletcher Barnes family home features 15 rooms, a turret, two porticos and hand carved solid cherry paneling in the foyer. Join us in a never open to the public space as we reveal the beauty of Illinois living in the Rock River Valley's Victorian age.

In addition to the Doors Open program, Burpee Museum of Natural History will honor Illinois’ 200th anniversary alongside the Illinois Office of Tourism and local convention and visitors bureaus by hosting a Bicentennial Birthday Cake Celebration on Sunday, August 26, Constitution Day. Chicago-based Illinois Made maker, Eli’s Cheesecake, will provide cheesecake slices at no cost for the first 200 people that visit the museum between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. This will be on a first come, first served basis.


“What better way to celebrate the past 200 years of amazing in Illinois than enjoying a Chicago classic treat at some of the state’s most beloved historical sites,” said Cory Jobe, director of Illinois Office of Tourism. “The Bicentennial Birthday Cake Celebrations are a testament to the authentic Illinois experience loved by locals and visitors alike.”

Learn more about the Illinois 200th Birthday Cake Celebrations and other Bicentennial programs from the Illinois Office of Tourism by visiting and join the conversation on social media by using the hashtags #Illinois200 and #IllinoisProud.



On Dec. 3, 1818, Illinois became the 21st state in the union. The Illinois Bicentennial is a yearlong celebration of what has been BORN, BUILT & GROWN in the state and a reminder of why we are #IllinoisProud. Citizens are encouraged to participate in the celebration by visiting and using the hashtag #IllinoisProud.


The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism manages industry efforts that result in sustainable and significant economic and quality-of-life benefits for Illinois residents.

The mission of the RACVB is to drive quality of life and economic growth for our citizens through tourism marketing and destination development.




Andrea Cook RACVB Associate Director of Marketing and Communications: 815.489.1664 or