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Villa Park Historical Museum
Built in 1929, the Villa Park Historical Museum building originally served the community as the Villa Ave stop for the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin electric train line and an appliance store. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Today, it houses relics and artifacts from Villa Park's past including articles from the Ovaltine Factory which once operated in Villa Park and Sears Catalog Homes in the area.
Woodland Palace at Francis Park
A must-see attraction in Kewanee is the Woodland Palace at Francis Park, the first “green” home in Illinois. This unusual home was built way ahead of its time and is filled with engineering wonders. Learn about the quirky and eccentric man who built and lived in the home. Fred Francis was an artist, poet, inventor, builder, mathematician, engineer, and a naturist. Francis started to build the home in 1890 and worked on it for the next thirty-six years. It features hand-carved molding, a water purification system, and is the first house in the state of Illinois to have air-conditioning without the aid of electricity. View the sophisticated achievements of disappearing windows, doors, and more. Visit a home where everything seems to work in harmony. Woodland Palace is open seven days a week from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. April through October 1.
C.H. Moore Homestead
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this restored mansion and grounds whisk visitors back to the Victorian era. Once home to Clinton attorney Clifton H. Moore, visitors will enjoy tours and stories of the friend and law partner of Abraham Lincoln who one resided there. Home of the DeWitt County Museum.
Little Popcorn Store
A cherished landmark in the heart of downtown Wheaton, The Little Popcorn Shop is perhaps one of the most loved and narrowest stores in the Chicagoland area measuring 49 inches wide by 60 feet long. The store’s small, quaint space is like walking into a Norman Rockwell painting. Popcorn is freshly popped, candy lines the wall, and locals greet each other warmly while welcoming newcomers to this very special place called The Little Popcorn Shop.
1930's Ag Museum
This privately owned museum houses forty-two John Deere farm implements manufactured in the late 1920's through 1940. Showcased is a 1936 Model B John Deere Tractor, fully restored. The Ag Museum also features an antique horse equipment collection and period farm house furnishings, as well as equipment and hand tools found on a 1930's farmstead. All free of charge, open by appointment, located on the northern edge of Quincy.
Historic Self-Guided Tours
DeKalb County Convention & Visitors Bureau Books are available to assist you.
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.
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.
Beith House Museum
1850 limestone Greek Revival home restored, developed as preservation study house. June-August, Tues. 1-4pm. Other hours, groups by appointment.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ernest Hemingway Birthplace
Visit the Victorian home where Nobel Prize winning author Ernest Hemingway was born in 1899 and spent his early life.
Warrenville Historical Society
DuPage County, Chicago's Western Suburbs - The Warrenville Museum is located in an 1858 Greek Revival Methodist Church that was later used as an art studio by Adam Albright and his sons, Ivan and Malvin. Exhibits include art, featuring works by the Albrights, and local history.
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.
Fallen Soldier Veterans Memorial Wall
Located on East Broadway in Johnston City, this memorial wall contains the names of local fallen heroes. A Memorial Day celebration is held in this location every year.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity & Foundation
This 80-year-old Indiana limestone building was constructed as a memorial to the members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon who fought and died in our nation's wars, and contains some of the last stained-glass works of Louis C. Tiffany.
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.
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.