Discover some key moments in a town's history.
Find out when special events, people and place happened in history.
Sycamore has many interesting facts that help us understand what happened when in the town's growth over time.
Each image represents a significant piece of history. In what year did each of these occur in Sycamore History?
Click on the arrow to the left of the image to get the details on the importance of each.
Sycamore’s first hospital building, designed by Leticia Westgate, opened in 1900. The hospital had steam heat, electricity, running water, and telephones. Dr. Westgate was the first woman physician in Sycamore.
This was the first hospital in the state that was operated by a female. The hospital had three floors and is still standing at the corner of Somonauk and Elm Streets.
The first public school building in Sycamore, named Central School, was built in 1853 at the corner of Carlos Lattin’s lot, where the Sycamore School District’s Administration building is today. In 1863 a fire destroyed the second school building that was built on the site of the original school. All students from first grade through high school attended school this building.
The third Central School was built in 1927, a year after fire destroyed the second Central School.
This house was built by pioneer settler, Jesse C. Kellogg, in 1842. It is the oldest known residential building still standing in Sycamore. Mr. Kellogg was a strong abolitionist, and believed to be a faithful conductor of the Underground Railroad during the pre-Civil War years. As a committed abolitionist, it is very likely Kellogg and his family helped many escaped slaves.
Sycamore’s landmark popcorn stand was purchased in the 1890’s by James Elliott. The stand was originally a wheeled wagon pulled by horse, that traveled throughout the town selling popcorn and candy. At night it was stored at a livery stable where horses are kept.
In 1923, the wheels were removed, and the stand was moved to its permanent location at the corner of State and Maple Streets. The popcorn stand remains a favorite stop in town.
DeKalb County was formed in 1837. Sycamore became the County Seat, and in June 1839 the first session of the Court met in a wooden building that was built earlier that year and was located across from where the courthouse sits today.
In the county’s early years, courthouses were used for courts, but also served as community centers for church meetings, school classes, and club meetings. In 1850, a second larger brick courthouse was built. Due to the growth of the county, a third, newer courthouse was built in 1905. This third courthouse is the one we see today. Over the years it has been remodeled and added to as the county continues to expand.
The Sycamore Park District began in 1923. In the beginning years it developed green space, along with the golf course and the swimming pool. Over time, additional parks were added along with the Sports Complex, splash pad, dog park, and the sledding hill to name a few.
The goal of the Park District is to “provide the best recreational experience for residents possible.”
Pumpkin Festival in Sycamore, Illinois is a time of excitement that happens on the 4th weekend in October each year. The idea for the Pumpkin Festival started with Wally Thurow filling his own yard with decorated pumpkins for Halloween.
The Lions Club of Sycamore along with Wally Thurow organized the first Pumpkin Festival in 1962. This tradition became a yearly event enjoyed by people from around the county and the state.
Henry Fargo built the 850 seat Fargo Theatre in 1925. At that time all movies were “silent movies.” Movie goers would have to watch and imagine what the actors could be saying. Silent movies, talkies, vaudeville, and other stage shows were all part of the Fargo’s history. Movies with sound were first shown in 1928.
Henry Fargo sold the business in 1940, when the name was changed to the State Street Theatre.
By 1846, Sycamore was an agriculture and business center. However, farmers and businesses owners soon realized there was a need for a railroad to transport goods and people to and from Chicago. Cortland was the closest town with rail service.
In 1858 a proposed 4.6 mile “spur line” was to connect Sycamore to the main line in Cortland. The railroad became operational with the first train arriving in town in 1859.
In 1880 the third depot was built. It still stands today(as the DeKalb County Community Foundation).