Porches are a distinctive feature that can truly make a home feel welcoming. A nice
porch is an invitation to stop and relax, to enjoy the company of friends and neighbors.
This year’s Pumpkin Fest Historic Homes Tour, sponsored by the Sycamore History
Museum, will feature “Porches of Sycamore” this Saturday, October 28, from 10:00 am to
5:00 pm. And visitors don’t JUST get to see the porches; our tour includes full tours of
six spectacular homes and our award-winning exhibit Adventures To and From
Click on a picture below for a larger view!
First, the inviting home at 706 DeKalb Avenue was built for Charles Parker, a boot &
shoe salesman for Chauncey Ellwood and traveling salesman for Jacob Haish and
American Steel and Wire Company. The home stayed in his family for many years but
has since seen a number of occupants. Current owners, Wendi and Peter Barth, have
undertaken a loving revival of the home, including a major expansion of the front porch.
The spectacular side windows and unique staircase arrangement make this a home you
won’t want to miss.
Next on our tour is 321 W. High Street, built in 1901 for Sycamore jeweler George O.
Warren. In 1907, Warren sold it to John Johnson who paid just $5,500 cash for it! The
current owners, Sarah and David Rowland, are excited to invite you onto the
impressive stone porch and then in to view the original hardwood floors and beautiful
woodwork throughout this large-but- cozy home, including a fully finished attic space
and accessible servant stairs.
Next, we move to the Frank Stearns home at 229 S. Main. The Conroy family is only the
third family to occupy this striking home. It retains much of its original charm, including
the colonnaded porch and cast-iron fireplace. It also features an original pocket door,
stunning woodwork, original light fixtures, and of course, that unique green paint color
on the exterior. The Conroys will be on hand the day of the tour to show visitors how
much they love this home.
The lovely home at 519 S. Main was once featured in Better Homes and Gardens
magazine. Built for J.H. Rogers as part of a much larger house, it originally stood on
Somonauk Street. It was transported by mule and cut into two homes, 513 & 519 South
Main. It was expanded several times but retains much of the original walnut woodwork
and now sports what is said to be the largest porch in Sycamore. Current owners, Tim
and Mary Anderson, continue to work on their own updates, but this home is certainly
spectacular with its beautiful kitchen, family room, and patios. It even has a spiral
The Andrew Palmer house at 912 Somonauk is deceptive on the outside. It looks like a
simple early 20 th Century American Foursquare, but inside, visitors will find five levels of
comfortable family living and some excellent carpentry. Owner and carpenter Tim
Grudecki and his wife Denise have resurrected and restructured the house into the
perfect family space, including an attic bedroom, accessed by ladder, and an in-ground
pool and brick patio built into the double lot in the back.
423 S. California, one of the oldest homes in town, was built for Civil War general Daniel
Dustin. When it was on our tour several years ago, it was unowned and in need of an update, but new owner, Bob Harty, has done more than update it. He has re-imagined
the house in beautiful new ways. An avid antique collector, Bob has furnished the home
with pieces that are fitting for a house built in 1859. By opening walls and exposing the
original brick chimney, he has brought out the heart of this home.
Best of all, ticket holders also get to view our award-winning exhibit Adventures To and
From Sycamore as well as our Museum campus and grounds at 1730 N. Main. Come
visit with Board members and volunteers and learn about all the programs and
partnerships the Sycamore History Museum offers.
Tickets for the tour are available at the Sycamore History Museum, Sweet Earth Gifts, or the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce. Tickets are $25/single or $40/pair. For more information on how to earn a free ticket by giving a little time to help showcase these wonderful homes, call 815-895-5762, visit the Museum’s website at sycamorehistory.org, or like them on Facebook.