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DeKalb Real Estate
Illinois, IL

Altgeld Hall (NIU)

Town Center

DeKalb, Illinois is a city of over 43,000 population located 60 miles west of Chicago, Illinois. It enjoys a quiet atmosphere in the country while only an hour's drive from one of the largest urban areas in the United States. The city is named after decorated German war hero Johann De Kalb who gave his life for American Independence during the American Revolutionary War.

Founded in 1837, DeKalb remained a small community until the arrival of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad in 1853. DeKalb's central location brought easier shipping of crops and access to larger markets. Agriculture was the primary economic activity until farmer Joseph Glidden developed barbed wire and began commercial mass production of his new invention. Glidden sold half of his interest to hardware merchant Isaac L. Ellwood and together the two formed the Barb Fence Company.

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What Makes DeKalb Unique?

  • Northern Illinois University (NIU) - was founded in DeKalb as the Northern Illinois State Normal School in 1895. NIU is a comprehensive teaching and research institution with a student enrollment of around 25,000. Altgeld Hall was the first building ever on campus.
  • DeKalb Corn Fest Inc. - is a not-for-profit organization ran entirely by volunteers. Corn Fest has provided great food, family fun, and free entertainment since 1977. Over 100,000 people come to enjoy the food and listen to the music at Corn Fest each year. Your Sponsorship provides DeKalb Corn Fest the resources necessary to produce this amazing free music and food festival.
  • Ellwood House - U.S. National Register of Historic Places - was built as a private home by barbed wire entrepreneur Isaac Ellwood in 1879. It is located on First Street in DeKalb. The Victorian style home, designed by George O. Garnsey, underwent remodeling in 1898-1899 and 1911. The house was originally part of 1,000 acres which included a large stable complex known as "Ellwood Green." Isaac Ellwood lived here until 1910 when he passed the estate to his son, Perry Ellwood.

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