DeKalb County History Center

DeKalb County History Center Inspiring curiosity in DeKalb County's history. The DeKalb County History Center is dedicated to "Inspiring curiosity in DeKalb County's history."
(18)

Snow day…. This picture was taken on Rt. 23 just north of Sycamore on February 8, 1936. From the book Nostalgia and Glee...
01/09/2024

Snow day…. This picture was taken on Rt. 23 just north of Sycamore on February 8, 1936. From the book Nostalgia and Glee: "The result was that entire cities became shut off from the world. Railroads, busses and normal auto traffic came to a complete halt. West of Sycamore on the Sycamore-DeKalb road a snow plow could be seen stuck fast at Electric Park Corners. Downtown Sycamore looked like the Arctic Circle."

Winter is finally here! Due to the forecasted snow, the History Center will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, January 9. Stay...
01/09/2024

Winter is finally here!
Due to the forecasted snow, the History Center will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, January 9. Stay safe!

Michelle will be representing the History Center during the chili cook-off. Stop by and say hi!
01/08/2024

Michelle will be representing the History Center during the chili cook-off. Stop by and say hi!

The Chili Cook-off Deadline has been extended to Jan. 9. Be a part of the fun family event, celebrating winter and National Soup Month! Register at the Community Center or contact Melissa at [email protected].
Fire & Ice Festival | Sat, Jan 13 | 1-4pm
Community Center
Share a unique take on chili or make your favorite recipe to share with others! All cooks get 2 drink tickets, a commemorative magnet, and a chance to win prizes! Make it a family affair or even promote your business or organization at the table. See detail in the comments.

On January 8, World Typing Day celebrates this written form of communication that ensures speed, accuracy, and efficienc...
01/08/2024

On January 8, World Typing Day celebrates this written form of communication that ensures speed, accuracy, and efficiency. From 1941, DeKalb Kalibre typists.

Your support of our efforts, realizing its value beyond the immediate future, will be treasured by those we know now and...
01/08/2024

Your support of our efforts, realizing its value beyond the immediate future, will be treasured by those we know now and those yet to come. Please consider supporting our Annual Appeal by January 15. Learn more here: https://www.dekalbcountyhistory.org/

Every January, during National Hobby Month, thousands of Americans celebrate their favorite hobbies and try out new ones...
01/07/2024

Every January, during National Hobby Month, thousands of Americans celebrate their favorite hobbies and try out new ones. From the 1957 Daily Chronicle, an advertisement for Karl's Music and Hobby Center in DeKalb.

On this day in 1914, DeKalb's Star Theatre showed "Robin Hood." This promotional postcard was used to advertise the show...
01/06/2024

On this day in 1914, DeKalb's Star Theatre showed "Robin Hood." This promotional postcard was used to advertise the show.

It's National Soup Month! We found a couple soup recipes in "Treasures from the Vault - Volume II," a cookbook printed b...
01/05/2024

It's National Soup Month! We found a couple soup recipes in "Treasures from the Vault - Volume II," a cookbook printed by The Sandwich State Bank and compiled by employees.

Our Roving Curator Jessi has been working with the Sandwich Illinois Historical Society to create a working inventory of...
01/04/2024

Our Roving Curator Jessi has been working with the Sandwich Illinois Historical Society to create a working inventory of the Stone Mill Museum. This project includes classifying the objects on display and learning more about the stories behind the items. We're having fun identifying objects in their collection, so we thought you might enjoy it too! First up… have you used one of these before?

National Spaghetti Day brings up memories of Jon and Jen's Grill in DeKalb. "You spaghetti eaters are always placed in t...
01/04/2024

National Spaghetti Day brings up memories of Jon and Jen's Grill in DeKalb. "You spaghetti eaters are always placed in three categories: 'SLURPERS' 'ROLLERS' and 'CUTTERS...'"

Please consider supporting the History Center during our Annual Appeal. Your gift will make a direct impact upon our wor...
01/03/2024

Please consider supporting the History Center during our Annual Appeal. Your gift will make a direct impact upon our work of preserving our county’s history. Through assisting with research requests, providing educational resources, planning programming to engage people of all ages and backgrounds, and maintaining and sharing our collection, your assistance makes this work possible. Learn more here: https://www.dekalbcountyhistory.org/

While reviewing the collection for the Arts in Action project, researcher Nick Glover discovered some interesting inform...
01/03/2024

While reviewing the collection for the Arts in Action project, researcher Nick Glover discovered some interesting information about the Dixie Inn. He found documents in the archives relating to the restaurant's first proprietor Eugene Sims and his grocery store, an early form of the restaurant. One of these documents is a handwritten inventory of the contents of the store, as well as a list of the family's personal property. The file also contains a typescript of the inventory, but aside from the apparent legal nature of the papers, their purpose isn't completely clear.

Having a full inventory of any business in any time period is a unique and valuable resource for researchers. But having a full inventory of a Black-owned business in 1916 is extremely rare and virtually unprecedented. This is certainly one of the few surviving complete inventories of businesses of this type from this time.

Eugene Spencer “Dixie” Sims was a nationally known Black boxer who fought during the years 1900 to 1911. He was called the “middle-weight champion of the south.” He once fought a match for the welterweight championship of the world, but narrowly lost.

“Dixie” Sims was born April 14, 1882 in Humboldt, Tennessee. He came to Chicago when he was 17 years old and, in August 1899, came to Sycamore. He married Arder Motley on August 21, 1904. After his boxing career, he built the restaurant and store in 1915 at 512 North California that became “The Dixie Inn.” Dixie died November 13, 1959.

The son of Dixie and Arder, Allen Sims, was the first Black male to graduate from Sycamore High School, with the Class of 1924. While he was teaching in Clarksville, Tennessee, Allen (1905-1952) married Fannie Springs Sims (1910-1978). Later, they returned to Sycamore to run the business and renamed it Fannie's Dixie Inn. When Fannie died, her obituary said that she had owned and operated the business for 33 years.

Happy 2024 - we're back! Open for regular hours.
01/02/2024

Happy 2024 - we're back! Open for regular hours.

We're ready to see you this year!
01/01/2024

We're ready to see you this year!

Happy New Year's Eve! From 1894, the menu for Chauncey Ellwood's 15th annual New Year's Dinner.
12/31/2023

Happy New Year's Eve! From 1894, the menu for Chauncey Ellwood's 15th annual New Year's Dinner.

Thank you for a fantastic 2023! Here's just a glimpse into some of our programs from this year.
12/30/2023

Thank you for a fantastic 2023! Here's just a glimpse into some of our programs from this year.

Happy  ! This holiday season, we've got baked goods on our minds. Check out these photos of the Ellis Ideal Bakery on Ea...
12/29/2023

Happy ! This holiday season, we've got baked goods on our minds. Check out these photos of the Ellis Ideal Bakery on East Lincoln Highway in DeKalb (circa 1960) and cars (circa 1931).

National Card Playing Day on December 28 encourages us to invite our friends to deal out a hand and play a game or two. ...
12/28/2023

National Card Playing Day on December 28 encourages us to invite our friends to deal out a hand and play a game or two. From the archives, a variety of playing cards, including a box that reads "Wurlitzer, The Name That Means Music To Millions."

National Fruitcake Day has arrived; we found this recipe from Mrs. Frank Bend of Leland. This recipe appeared in the "La...
12/27/2023

National Fruitcake Day has arrived; we found this recipe from Mrs. Frank Bend of Leland. This recipe appeared in the "Ladies Auxiliary Favorite Recipes" cookbook, printed by Sandwich Community Hospital, year unknown. Are you enjoying fruitcake this holiday season?

It's National Thank You Note Day! From the archives, just a few (of many!) thank you notes that were addressed to Yvonne...
12/26/2023

It's National Thank You Note Day! From the archives, just a few (of many!) thank you notes that were addressed to Yvonne Johnson from her students.

Merry Christmas! From the archives, a Christmas book and pin from Henderson's, and a Santa Claus used in a window displa...
12/25/2023

Merry Christmas! From the archives, a Christmas book and pin from Henderson's, and a Santa Claus used in a window display at Lahti Clothing Store in Sycamore.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care... The children of Charles Townsend are gathered in great anticipation.
12/24/2023

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care... The children of Charles Townsend are gathered in great anticipation.

National Roots Day on December 23 encourages families to delve into their family history, heritage, and ancestry. The Jo...
12/23/2023

National Roots Day on December 23 encourages families to delve into their family history, heritage, and ancestry. The Joiner History Room website has some great resources to get your history hunt started... https://joinerhistoryroom.org/

Looking for a holiday gift idea? How about tickets to live, local music?As part of the Arts in Action project, Sam Robbi...
12/22/2023

Looking for a holiday gift idea? How about tickets to live, local music?
As part of the Arts in Action project, Sam Robbins will be performing music that aligns with the project’s main themes – Fear, Exclusion, Hope and Community.
You can feel why this Nashville based musician is often described as an “old soul singer songwriter.” Sam adds a modern, upbeat edge to the storyteller troubadour persona. Jim Kanas, roots musician - guitarist who the Chicago Tribune calls ” …a master…” is the special guest for the evening. Join us at 7 pm on February 15 at the DeKalb County History Center. Grab your tickets today: https://www.zeffy.com/en-US/ticketing/11fd94cb-72fe-4a78-b13f-233f939f8255

It's   and National Date Nut Bread Day! This recipe comes from the Wurlitzer Centennial Cook Book printed in 1956.
12/22/2023

It's and National Date Nut Bread Day! This recipe comes from the Wurlitzer Centennial Cook Book printed in 1956.

It’s National Maine Day. Georgia Wild Townsend (1866-1955), daughter of Amos and Eleanor Townsend of Sycamore met John "...
12/21/2023

It’s National Maine Day. Georgia Wild Townsend (1866-1955), daughter of Amos and Eleanor Townsend of Sycamore met John "Jack" Alvin Yates (1845-1914), a sea-captain in Round Pond, Maine. They married in Sycamore and then lived in Round Pond, Maine, before setting off to journey the world by ship.
Their story is recounted in the book In Search of a Fair Wind by Clint Cargile.

When you think about history and legacy, what comes to mind?In Yvonne Johnson’s memoir, Lifelong Learner, the longtime e...
12/21/2023

When you think about history and legacy, what comes to mind?
In Yvonne Johnson’s memoir, Lifelong Learner, the longtime educator mused “I love to see history preserved.” In a 2010 Midweek article, beloved coach Pete Johnson said “maybe the generation I’ve influenced will influence others.” Both Yvonne and Pete donated special personal belongings to the History Center archives, including educator awards, personal letters and photos, and a special letterman jacket, so that their stories can continue to influence generations to come.
These incredible people trusted the History Center to care for their histories and legacies, which in turn keeps us a vibrant organization.
Support these stories by participating in our Annual Appeal here: https://www.dekalbcountyhistory.org/

The History Center will be closed for the holidays December 23 through January 1. We look forward to seeing you in the n...
12/20/2023

The History Center will be closed for the holidays December 23 through January 1. We look forward to seeing you in the new year!

Address

1730 N Main Street
Sycamore, IL
60178

Opening Hours

Tuesday 10am - 4pm
Wednesday 10am - 4pm
Thursday 10am - 4pm
Friday 10am - 4pm
Saturday 12pm - 4pm

Telephone

+18158955762

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when DeKalb County History Center posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Museum

Send a message to DeKalb County History Center:

Videos

Share

Category

Our Story

The DeKalb County History Center (DCHC) inspires curiosity in DeKalb County’s history by gathering, exploring, and inspiring people.

DCHC will explore the diverse stories that are part of our County’s history; gather people together through exhibits, programs, and research; and inspire people to apply this knowledge to enlighten the decisions of tomorrow.

DCHC also is committed to building the capacity of local organizations by providing resources and opportunities for collaboration.



You may also like