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Sycamore Public Library
Although the Sycamore Public Library did not open its doors until 1892, we can trace its roots back to 1875 when a Chautauqua Scientific Circle was formed in Sycamore. Once members had completed the course, they established the Athena Literary Society in order to form a public library. Over the course of three years they raised $700 and asked city council to appropriate money for books and that the mayor appoint a board of directors. On July 12, 1892, the Sycamore Public Library opened in Hoyt and Rogers’ Store, second floor, in the backroom. This building now is occupied by Marlyn’s Majorettes. The City Council appropriated $800 to purchase books. The Athena Literary Society assisted with funding the library for the first two years. Miss Flora Jeannette Dow, a member of Athena, was the first librarian. In 1902, Andrew Carnegie offered the City of Sycamore $10,000 for the construction of a library, provided an acceptable site could be secured and that the Sycamore City Council would annually appropriate at least 10% of his donation for maintaining the building. Mr. Frederick B. Townsend donated the property where the library stands today. Miss Dow received the honor of placing the first trowel of mortar on the cornerstone on May 24, 1905. Over the next 90 years, several renovation and remodeling projects took place and then on October 14, 1995, a new era of growth began with the groundbreaking ceremony for the library expansion. Today we are looking at ways to serve the community’s needs by providing the best possible services and programs available.
Milan Township One Room School House
The Milan Township District #83 Schoolhouse served as a center for learning from the turn of the century until 1942. In 1942, it was closed and left to deteriorate. However, the schoolhouse was given a new lease on life when it was donated to the Blackwell History of Education Museum in 1996 and then rebuilt on the campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL. Since 1999, the Milan Schoolhouse has been available to teachers at elementary and middle schools for re-enactment of a typical day in a one-room schoolhouse, professors at NIU and other institutions, and teachers at high schools for classes, other events, and families and organizations for various activities. We wish to thank Dr. Eui-Kyung Shin, assistant professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, for her guidance of Rebecca Edwards in the development of this curriculum.A Blackwell Museum staff member has created lesson plans for students in 1st through 8th grade that allow them to experience a school day in the early 1900s, depending on the teacher's preference. The one room school is currently unavailable for visits, but we hope to have it open again in the Spring of 2014. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
North Grove School
North Grove School, 3 miles northwest of Sycamore, was built in 1878 by the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church as a parochial and Sunday school. Pupils of diverse ethnic backgrounds learned their lessons in Swedish, even several years after the DeKalb County public school system purchased the school in 1880. The Sycamore unit district acquired the school in 1949, and it continued as a school until 1952, when it was closed. The North Grove community continued to lovingly maintain the building and used it as a neighborhood social center for many years. Classroom in School Upon the closing of North Grove School in 1952, all furnishings were removed. However many furnishings from old Sycamore schools were still in storage in the 1960s when the Natural Resource Center in Genoa began using the site for special education programs. The school was refurbished and re-supplied using these furnishings, with additional period pieces being donated by private citizens. In 1970 North Grove School at 26745 Brickville Road (Map) was listed in the Illinois Directory of Historical Buildings. On May 24, 2012 the United States Department of the Interior placed the school and its outbuildings on the National Register of Historical Places. Today the school is still owned by the Sycamore School District but is leased to and lovingly cared for by the North Grove School Association, whose goal is to preserve this educational icon for future generations.
Historic Self-Guided Tours
DeKalb County Convention & Visitors Bureau Books are available to assist you.
Within this breathtaking monument lie the remains of Abraham Lincoln, his wife Mary, and three of their four sons – located in the country’s second most visited cemetery behind only Arlington National Cemetery.
Beith House Museum
1850 limestone Greek Revival home restored, developed as preservation study house. June-August, Tues. 1-4pm. Other hours, groups by appointment.
Ryan's Round Barn
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.
Augustana Swedish Descendent Reunion Weekend
Celebrating 150 years plus of the Jenney Lind Chapel and Augustana Lutheran Synod. Service begins at 4 pm.
Phone Booth on Lincoln City Hall
Built in 1895, the red brick for the building came from the Lincoln Coal Company. A unique telephone booth on the roof was added later and was used by weather spotters to phone in sighted storms. Lincoln City Hall anchors the downtown National Historic Registered District and is one of the city's most visible symbols.
J.H. Hawes Grain Elevator
Illinois’ only fully restored wooden grain elevator listed on the National Register of Historic Places. An outdoor, self-guided interpretive tour allows visitors to experience the Elevator Museum anytime. Open June, July and August: Sundays 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., call ahead.
Atlanta Public Library
Built in 1908, this National Register Property is one of Illinois’ few octagonal-shaped public libraries. Its gilded rotunda and interior rooms, filled with solid-oak woodwork, reflect its classic architecture. Local volunteers who comprise the “Keepers of the Clock” take turns on a weekly basis hand-winding the 1909 Seth Thomas clock housed in the library’s clock tower.
Old Settlers’ Day and Colony School Reunion
Celebrate the 168th anniversary of the Bishop Hill Colony and the 118th year of the Old Settler’s Association. Enjoy a traditional chicken dinner, the High Society Band Concert and program featuring Bishop Hill Colony descendants’ speakers. Sunday a reunion of students and teachers from the Bishop Hill Colony School takes place and memories are shared. Hours: 11:30 am to 3 pm.
Carthage Jail & Visitor's Center
Built of native yellow limestome from 1839-1841, this was the site where Mormon leader, Joseph Smith Jr. and his brother were killed by an angry mob on June 27, 1844, resulting in the Mormons' famous trek west that led to the founding of Salt Lake City, UT.
John Wood Mansion
The Mansion is the restored home of Quincy's founder and the twelfth Governor of Illinois. It's one of the Midwest's finest existing examples of Greek Revival architecture. Also on the grounds are the History Museum & Visitor's Center houses a gift shop (Quincy's History Shop) & The Lincoln Gallery.
Nauvoo Temple & Grounds
The Nauvoo Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was recently rebuilt in Nauvoo, one of the early settlements of the Mormon people. The structure is 150 feet tall and overlooks the Mississippi River. The temple was reconstructed on the site of the original temple which was built from 1841-1846, but later destroyed by arson after the Mormons left Nauvoo. Sacred ordinances are performed daily in the Nauvoo Temple, therefore the building is not available for tourist visits. The beautiful gardens and grounds are open to the public, located just north of the temple. The temple Information Cernter presents a free 14-minute virtual tour.
The Bishop Hill Chatquaqua
We invite you to spend the day in an enchanting village. The park is the center of this small town and will be filled with story telling and music. Join us for the historical re-enactment, a family oriented event sharing true tales of what makes us uniquely American.
Historic Nauvoo Visitor Center
Begin your exploration of historic Nauvoo by examining the 1846 relief map of Nauvoo, viewing an introductory video, and studying historic artifacts and displays. Gather information on over two dozen restored homes, shops, and religious buildings in Nauvoo.
Lincoln-Douglas Debate Square
Experience the history of the second of the famous debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. It was at this site on August 27, 1858 that the Freeport Doctrine, an import statement regarding slavery and state's rights, was proclaimed by Douglas. The site is self-interpretative through a series of waysides that tell of the events and ideas which led up to the debates, and also includes the life-size statues "Lincoln and Douglas in Debate" by artist Lily Tolpo. The park-like setting is complete with benches, lighting and spacious walks.
Ernest Hemingway Birthplace
Visit the Victorian home where Nobel Prize winning author Ernest Hemingway was born in 1899 and spent his early life.
Pleasant Home is an architectural gem that showcases 19th century craftsmanship and artistry. Designed in 1897 by prominent architect George W. Maher, the home is a National Historic Landmark and the only Maher building open to the public as a museum. You and your guests will be surrounded by rich custom woodwork, extraordinary art glass windows, intricate woodcarvings, and the glowing warmth of light from another era. The Pleasant Home's 1st floor includes of the Great Hall, Living and Dining Rooms and enclosed circular porch. The front porch is a great addition to the 1st floor during warmer weather. It is perfect for wedding ceremonies, smaller banquets or cocktail parties. The Library is slightly off the beaten path, but is a great place for a buffet station for a cocktail reception. It is also perfect for small lectures of meetings that do not require the use of the whole house.
The Colaw Rooming House
Return to Rt. 66, circa 1947, when you overnight at The Colaw Rooming House. Where you'll experience travel on the Mother Road before Interstates and motel chains were the norm. Located just 2 blocks from Rt. 66 in quaint Atlanta, Illinois, The Colaw Rooming House offers three bedrooms, two full baths, a charming living room with fireplace, dinning room, curved front porch, and delightful yellow and red 1940's kitchen. To further enhance your step back in time, your stay includes a complimentary breakfast at The Palms Grill Cafe-Atlanta's fully restored, circa 1935 small town diner. For more information please visit our website www.thecolawhouse.com
Dr. Richard Eells House
The oldest standing two-story brick house in Quincy, Dr. Eells home was a station on the Underground Railroad in the 1840's. Quincy was the first stop for fugitives this side of the Mississippi from the slave state of Missouri. Dr. Eells is credited with helping several hundred slaves make their way North to freedom.
New York Street Memorial Bridge
Spanning the entire scenic Fox River, the bridge's features include the circa 1930 “Memory” and “Victory” statues in honor of fallen soldiers.
Tour the oldest remaining structure in the village. The home was originally owned by Montgomery’s founder, Daniel Gray. A museum offers an educational history of the Village of Montgomery. Open 2nd Tuesday and 3rd Sunday of each month, 12:30-2:30 p.m. May-October.