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Illinois itinerary: Explore DeKalb County history and heritage


DeKalb County, located 60 miles west of Chicago, offers groups a getaway experience rich in history and cultural diversity.

Inside the Egyptian Theatre in DeKalb County IllinousPhoto: DeKalb County CVB

Egyptian Theatre, DeKalb, Ill.

“The DeKalb County History & Heritage Tour gives visitors and group tours a glimpse into the county’s rich and varied history,” said Debbie Armstrong, executive director of the DeKalb County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “This tour highlights the Egyptian Theatre, the only one of its kind left east of the Rocky Mountains, and the historic farm house and mansion of the inventors of barbed wire.”

DeKalb County CVB supplied this two-day itinerary. The bureau helps operators coordinate on-site tours, one-point-of-contact welcome bags, customized itineraries, site inspections and hotel accommodation quotes.

Day One
Begin the journey at the Joseph F. Glidden Homestead and Historical Center in DeKalb. The group will learn about the invention in 1873 of the most widely used type of barbed wire. Joseph F. Glidden helped change the history of the American West and had a far-reaching impact throughout the world. Don’t forget to stop by the working blacksmiths shop.

Exterior view of Joseph F. Glidden Homestead and Historical Center in Dekalb County IllinousPhoto: DeKalb County CVB

Joseph F. Glidden Homestead and Historical Center, DeKalb, Ill.

Head to the Ellwood House Museum to tour the beautifully restored Victorian mansion that was built by barbed-wire baron Isaac L. Ellwood in 1879. The hour-long tour features the Little House and a charming Victorian-era playhouse on the grounds. Visitor center exhibits include “Fencing Frontiers: The Barbed Wire Story” and the carriage gallery.

It’s time to sit down and enjoy lunch to get ready for a little shopping in Sycamore’s historic downtown shopping district.

After lunch, head over to the Midwest Museum of Natural History and travel through the natural biomes of North America from the arctic tundra to the desert, and observe animals in their habitats. Visitors may even get the chance to encounter live animals while there.

Stop at the Sycamore History Museum to learn all about the people who developed and lived in the area. Make sure to stop by the Sycamore Courthouse to marvel at the majestic architecture of days gone by.

It’s time for dinner and a glass of wine before heading back to the hotel.

Day Two
The group is definitely going to want to tour the Egyptian Theatre, and if there is time, watch a show. This beautifully restored 1920s art deco theatre is on the National Register of Historic Places and is right around the corner from downtown DeKalb shopping and The Confectionary. The group can do some vintage shopping and indulge in old-fashioned, handmade chocolates.

Exterior view of Egyptian Theatre at night in DeKalb County IllinousPhoto: DeKalb County CVB

Egyptian Theatre, DeKalb, Ill.

Enjoy lunch from a wide selection of restaurants that offer both American and ethnic cuisine. If the weather is nice, dine alfresco.

Head home and make plans to come back to explore more of the history museums and historical societies in DeKalb County.

DeKalb County Convention & Visitors Bureau

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