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Pumpkin Fest features peek inside historic homes

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 1:27 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 1:29 p.m. CDT

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SYCAMORE – The Sycamore History Museum will feature six properties in the annual Sycamore Pumpkin Festival Historic Homes Tour on Saturday, Oct. 26. This year’s tour will celebrate some of the families that shaped Sycamore into the city it is today.

The homes on the tour include the final home of Carlos Lattin, Sycamore’s first permanent settler; the mansion of grain merchant David Syme; a historic farm home occupied by a number of local leaders; the home of department store magnate William McAllister; the Jane Fargo Hotel; and the Harold Engh farm, which now houses the history museum.

• The Lattin home, 305 Somonauk St., is owned by local potter Charlotte Burgess. Lattin was instrumental in the city’s early history and helped secure the courthouse for Sycamore. The stucco home was once divided into apartments, but the Burgess family has restored it.

• The Syme house, 420 Somonauk St., is home to the Grimson family. This classic Queen Anne-style mansion is a showplace of the architecture of George O. Garnsey. Syme helped put Sycamore on the map as a hub for agriculture.

• The historic farm house across the street at 421 Somonauk St. was, for many years, the last house on the outskirts of Sycamore. It is perhaps best known as the home of the Abram Ellwood family. Ellwood was the son of Sycamore’s first mayor, Reuben Ellwood, and himself served as mayor and postmaster. The home is cheerful and cozy, remodeled and decorated by current owners Ron and Mary Floit. The barn is also original to the property and worth a peek.

• McAllister build the department store many Sycamore residents remember as Henderson’s. It was the flagship of McAllister’s chain of stores. The home at 222 S. Main St. features lovely woodwork, stained glass, original tin ceilings and the original range.

• The Jane Fargo hotel was built around a mansion once belonging to Reuben Ellwood. The mansion portion of the building now houses luxury suites with a strong historic flavor. The hotel builder, Henry Fargo, also built the State Street Theater and the recently demolished Fargo Motors.

• The main stop on the tour is the Engh Farm, 1730 N. Main St. A guided tour of the museum’s exhibit “PLAY” is included as part of the walk. The farm was a center of agriculture. There will be tours of the farm gardens and the archive building, also.

Sycamore Pumpkin Festival Historic Homes Tour

10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 26

Tickets are $25 each or $40 for two

Tickets are available in advance at the Sycamore History Museum and at Sweet Earth Gifts, and the day of the walk at any of the tour stops.

For more information or to volunteer, call 815-895-5762 or visit www.sycamorehistory.org.

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