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Enjoy a self-guided driving tour of Aurora’s historic districts. Go back in time to Pre-Civil War era when Illinois' second largest city was being formed. Visit the Roundhouse, Stolp Island, Central Fire Station, Auto-Row, the house made of coal and much more. Online tour information available by clicking the link to the City of Aurora's Historic Preservation page of the City's web site.
From 1908 to 1940, Sears Roebuck and Company ordered, manufactured and sold homes to hundreds of thousands of Americans. Sears homes were popular in the railroad community of Aurora, which boasts 136 authenticated properties, making Aurora one of the largest concentrations of Sears homes in the country. Take the tour - stop by the literature center at 43 W. Galena Blvd. or download an entire list of Sears Homes from the City's web site.
The David Adler Music and Arts Center is dedicated to promoting music and the arts as an integral part of everyday life. Its year-round activities are designed to foster critical thinking and interpretation, participation, entertainment, and achievement in music and the arts for the people of Northern Illinois. The David Adler Music and Arts Center maintains and interprets the historic home of architect David Adler, which is the base of its activities, and a visual image of the harmony between music, the arts and daily life.
Located just outside the city of Chicago, the Leaning Tower of Niles is a half-sized replica of the famous tower in Pisa. It is made of steel, concrete and precast stone and is 94 ft (28 m) tall with a 7.4 ft (2.2 m) tilt. Completed in 1934 by Robert Ilg.
Leland Tower is a twenty-two story tall building located on Stolp Island in Aurora, Illinois. Leland Tower was at one point the tallest building in Illinois outside of Chicago. Stolp Island is recognized as a Historical District by the National Register of Historical Places. Leland Tower was at one time the tallest building in the world, and dominates the downtown of Aurora, dwarfing all the other buildings located there. The tower was built initially as a hotel. The Leland Hotel project was conceived in 1926 and was one of the most ambitious projects in the city's history. The project was announced by an organization known as the Aurora Building Corporation through Herbert P. Heiss of the First Illinois Company. Mr. Heiss had located and purchased the site for the proposed hotel. The building contract was awarded to the H.G. Chtistman Company, general contractors of South Bend, Indiana and Detroit, Michigan. Anker Sveere Graven and Arthur Guy Mayger were chosen to design the hotel which was planned to be one of the grandest buildings outside of Chicago.
Victorian Italianate structure opened in 1964 that towers proudly over the Fox River and the City of Yorkville. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Olde Courthouse Gallery graces the main hall with shows featuring the work of artists from Kendall County and beyond. Laws of Nature exhibit focuses on the natural resources of the county. Tours available.
The Aurora Elks Lodge No. 705 is a Mayan style building on Stolp Island in Aurora, Illinois. It is included in the Stolp Island Historic District. The building was built in 1926 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. (Re-development planning in process.)
The Richard H. Driehaus Museum immerses visitors in one of the grandest residential buildings of 19th-century Chicago, the Gilded Age home of banker Samuel Mayo Nickerson. Philanthropist Richard H. Driehaus founded the museum on April 1, 2003 with a vision to influence today’s built environment by preserving and promoting architecture and design of the past.
The fascinating history of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts comes to life in the Behind the Curtain historic tour program. Led by a group of specially trained docents, you'll not only see the beautiful neo-Classical interior design of the BCPA, but also learn all about the many technical and patron service updates achieved in the building's significant renovation. You won't want to miss this surprising, fascinating, and fun-filled look at one of Bloomington's historic and most thriving buildings. Bring your stories, your questions, and, above all, your curiosity. Behind the Curtain tours are one hour in length and can accommodate a wide variety of group sizes.
St. James at Sag Bridge is the Oldest Church in Northern Illinois. Built by Irish immigrants who built the canal. Established in 1833, it is the sole country parish of the Archdiocese of Chicago serving a growing community of Catholics who come together to worship God through the celebration of the Eucharist and traditional devotional activities within truly unique and beautiful surroundings.
Unique, historic, elegant venue located in the former Masonic Temple in downtown Streator. Available for weddings, receptions, or any special occasion. Tours by appointment.
Take a look back in history and visit the Steeple building, built in 1854. Architecturally intriguing it is a three-story stucco Greek Revival structure with a two-story tower and 66 six-over-six windows. It was built to be used as a hotel, but instead was used as a dwelling, school, administration building, and later housed a bank, telephone switchboard and apartments. The museum is home to the Bishop Hill Heritage Association offices. The rooms and exhibit showcase historic artifacts and photos of early Colony days and take visitors back through time to a quaint prairie village. Group tours by appointment, small fee. Open Daily 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday Noon to 4 p.m.
Have you heard the expression BIG things come in SMALL packages? The same holds true for a small Central Illinois town of 3,000 named Casey. To date, it is home to 8 Guinness World Records World’s Largest attractions; the wind chime, golf tee, knitting needles, crochet hook, pitchfork, mailbox, wooden shoes and rocking chair! Take Exit 129 off Interstate 70, and you will be able to easily find all of the local attractions within a 3-mile radius. Tourists also can enjoy several large objects along the way that make unique photo opportunities, such as a 36-foot pencil and ruler. There is even a bird cage that you are able to swing in. Casey offers several food and retail establishments that add to the uniqueness of the small town. Each year this small town grows a little bigger, with more attractions and shopping. Make sure to visit often, so you don’t miss out on the journey!
A four-floor large museum located in a former stone mill, including items from the area and a room dedicated to Native America artifacts. A 24' long mural depicts the different eras of Indians and a buffalo hide nearby showing life of an Indian tribe. Built in 1859 as a steam-run flour mill named Sandwich Steam Mill. Open Sundays 1-4 pm from April to October. Tours by appointment.
Dating back to 1855, and built from hand-hewn oak and walnut beams cut from woods along the nearby Fox River, this structure holds the unique distinction of being Kendall County’s oldest church building. With it’s “New England-style” charm, 1899 pipe organ, and original stained glass windows, the Chapel on the Green is one of the most architecturally and historically significant structures in the county. Nestled in the heart of the city’s north side, the Chapel on the Green is located one block west of Route 47 (Bridge Street) at the northeast corner of Church and Center Streets, adjacent to the historic Town Square Park.
John Deere's home still stands with a working replica of his blacksmith shop and a preserved archeological dig that unearthed Deere's original shop.
This complex, designed by Bertrand Goldberg, includes two corncob-shaped residential towers perched along the Chicago River. Designed to be a “city within a city,” Marina City includes a restaurant, theatre, bowling alley, and a marina for 700 small craft.
Scoville Square was designed by E.E. Robers, and is one of the few examples of Prairie-style architecture applied to commercial buildings.
Located in Harrer Park, this 1888 Victorian farmhouse features period furnishings and a museum on its lower level with rotating displays.
Famed architecht Frank Lloyd Wright designed and engineered this bank in 1905, and it is the only one of his three designed banks still standing.
Nestled among fragrant pines and sumptuous flower gardens stands the Chapel in the Pines, a charming Victorian-style country church.
Tour this centennial barn, one of the largest in the country and one of forty-two left in the State of Illinois. It stands 80 feet high and 85 feet in diameter and features a 16-foot diameter floor to ceiling silo. A farm implement museum in on the main floor. Tours are provided by Friends of Johnson’s Park Foundation and groups of ten or more asked to call ahead. Open the first, third, and fifth Saturday beginning May through October. Hours: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The world-renowned Lyric Opera of Chicago performs in one of North America's most beautiful opera houses, the Civic Opera House. The decorative character of the entire building is a hybrid of Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles. Comedy-tragedy masks and cornucopia of instruments abound as playful ornaments around entrances, inspired by the Paris Opera House designed by Jean-Louis-Charles Garnier. The famous painted fire curtain (depicting the parade scene from Aida) and the interior decoration details of the Civic Opera House were created by American artist Jules Guerin in a palette of salmon pinks, roses, olives, golds and bronzes.
The present church is the original structure, built in 1860. Dedicated in 1861 as Evangelical Lutheran St. Paul's Church, it features a 50-ft.-tall steeple, pews made of native yellow poplar, and balconies that span the full length of the building on both sides of the stairway.