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DeKalb County Tours: Miscellany

November 2nd, 2021
Categories: Adults, Personal Enrichment, Personal Enrichment, Reading, Writing, and Storytelling, Reading, Writing, and Storytelling, Seniors
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Waterman’s Rock Monument |A 15 foot tall structure on the 400 block of Hickory Street, dating back to 1931. Waterman’s foremost Doctor- Paul E.N. Greeley- had it erected to honor the town’s early settlers. It includes a plaque which reads: “Erected to the Founders and Builders of this community, whose rugged spirit and sterling character are here typified. 1931.” The monument became threatened in 2019 when the two empty lots providing a view of it from the street were offered “FOR SALE” by the family that had cared for the lots for 50 years. If the lots should have things built on them, view of the historic monument would be all but obscured. As this is being written, the status of the lots is unknown.

The Marie Louise Olmstead Memorial Museum | Located on the second floor of the Union Hall Block, on Deport Street in Somonauk. It most certainly ranks as one of “the best kept historical secrets in DeKalb County.” This is however THE oldest museum in the county, dating from 1921, as the private collection of attorney L. B. Olmstead. While including some things relating to DeKalb County, the overall diversity of its holdings is little less than mindboggling. Among the many items on display are antique weapons, vintage clothing, stuffed animals, kitchen utensils and china, Columbian Exposition memorabilia, Colonial American objects, and so many more things too numerous to mention. The museum is only open on Sundays from 2pm to 4pm, or by appointment, and it is not handicapped accessible.

Genoa’s Kishwaukee Valley Heritage Society | Operates the town’s Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad depot of 1882, as a museum of local historical memorabilia One of the things they possess is the wooden conference table around which on January 5th, 1912, the organizational meeting of the DeKalb County Soil Improvement Association took place, on the second floor of the Daily Chronicle Building at 119/123 East Lincoln Highway in DeKalb. The group subsequently took on the name DeKalb County Farm Bureau, the first such group of its kind in America. Those attending included farmers, bankers, newspapermen, and others concerned over the plight of farmers.

Bull Moose Bar and Grille | In Sandwich, located at 202 South Main Street, the southeast corner of Church (Route 34) and Main Streets. The more than 125 year old train car dates from the 1843 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where it was built for $25,000 by the Pillman Palace Car Company. It was acquired by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1904 as a campaign train car. Because of his unsuccessful bid for President was on the Bull Moose Party ticket, the present owners decided to use that name for their restaurant when it opened in the Spring of 2011. The historic vehicle has been a Sandwich eatery since arriving in 2931.

The Cupolas of Hinckley | The small town of Hinckley contains not one but two Italianate-style houses, noteworthy for their rooftop cupolas. The older of the two is to be found on the northeast corner of Sycamore and Miller Streets, the front section of which dates from 1850, and to have belonged originally to Samuel Miller, believed to be the second permanent white settler of Squaw Grove Township. Located beyond the later city limits, the cupola would have offered quire a view of the wide open country surrounding it. At nearby 193 Oak Street is a similar house whose date of construction is unknown. If originally a farm house like the Miller, it too would have provided a fine view from its cupola. It is said to have been the home of merchant C.C. Kennedy, who sold drugs, jewelry, bicycles, pianos and organs. Longtime residents say the house behind it was once its rear wing.