Freeport, Illinois is located along US Highway 20 about thirty miles west of Rockford, IL. In its early history, Freeport was known as Winneshiek, Illinois. When it came time to officially incorporate the town, the town’s people decided to rename the city to Freeport. It is said that the new name was in honor of a “free” port that operated on the banks of the Pecatonica River which runs through the town.
Freeport is now the largest city in Stephenson County, Illinois and home to over 26,000 people. A large percentage of the city’s populace is of German heritage and as a reminder and tribute to that heritage, the town was given the nickname, “Pretzel City”. From a historical perspective, Freeport was the site of the 2nd debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. At the time, the debate brought much national attention to Freeport that jump started a period of rapid growth for the town. The city still commemorates that event to this day with a monument in downtown Freeport.