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Local History

Reflections – Cattle Rail & Stockyards

Though DeKalb County had certainly sent cattle to distant markets like Chicago for decades, it found itself on the cusp of a boom. The business of shipping livestock by rail developed quickly and later ended just as abruptly. From the early 1850s when railroads began in DeKalb County, trains were the ...read more

Stories of the Stockyards

Local farmers sold livestock at the Chicago Union Stockyards and share their stories The Union Stock Yard & Transit Company was the meatpacking district in Chicago for more than a century, starting in 1865. The district was operated by a group of railroad companies that acquired marshland and turned it into ...read more

Family Farm Heritage

Honoring Centennial/Sesquicentennial Farms in DeKalb County Oakdale Farm City: SandwichTownship: SandwichOriginal Date of Purchase: 1855 by George BarkCurrent Owners: Great-Great Granddaugthers – Lori Carey, Jeanne Skelton & Karen ErhartAcres: 348 acres Farm History In 1847 young George Bark left his birthplace of New York and headed west in hopes of becoming a landowner and ...read more

Livestock at the Stockyards

The Chicago Union Stockyards could handle at any one time: 75,000 hogs 21,000 cattle 22,000 sheep Livestock came from all over by rail and by truck to the south side of Chicago from 1865 to 1971. After the Stockyards closed, the Chicago-Joliet Stockyards opened and some area farmers shipped their livestock there. Other marketing ...read more

Reflections – Renowned Artist

Cora Miner taught art in the Sycamore schools from 1915-1960, when she became a private art instructor. She had graduated from the Valparaiso Fine Arts Academy and had studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and the Chicago Applied Art School. Cora Miner was one of DeKalb County’s well-renowned artists. This ...read more

Family Farm Heritage

Honoring Sesquicentennial Farms in DeKalb County Blue Arrow FarmCity: SycamoreTownship: SycamoreOriginal Date of Purchase: 1904 by Henry LenschowCurrent Owner: Bill & Kathy LenschowAcres: 182 acres originally, now 65 acres FARM HISTORY Henry Lenschow purchased 182 acres from Richard Blanchfield on Sept. 3, 1904. It was a typical northern Illinois farm where they raised dairy cows, pigs and chickens. ...read more

Reflections – Cattle Country

The American Midwest is widely recognized for its remarkable combination of spaciousness and structured land organization. With hills of grass and grain segmented off into neat, grid-like plots, the region is a prime example of a well-thought-out agricultural industry. Furthermore, few areas are as indicative of the region’s success and ...read more

Family Farm Heritage

Honoring Sesquicentennial Farms in DeKalb County Wesson FarmCity: LelandTownship: VictorOriginal Date of Purchase: 1849Current Owner: Kent WessonAcres: 160 (less 2 acres donated to establish Victor Cemetery) Farm History The Wesson Family has deep roots in America. John Wesson arrived from England in North America in 1645. His descendant James W. Wesson moved west ...read more

Reflections – Hinckley Basketball History

Hinckley’s excitement over sports goes back to the early 1900s when town teams in baseball and then basketball were recognized as some of the best anywhere in the state. The 1926 high school basketball team was especially talented and won second place among much larger schools in an invitational tournament at ...read more

Family Farm Heritage

Honoring Centennial Farms in DeKalb County Almburg FarmCity: MaltaTownship: MaltaOriginal Date of Purchase: 1887Current Owners: Almburg FamilyAcres: 320 acres originally, currently 46 acres & homestead Farm History: Andrew Almburg immigrated from Sweden in 1850 at nine years of age. He went to local DeKalb schools and worked as a farmhand around the DeKalb ...read more