If you find yourself in the Sycamore, Illinois area with nothing to do, more specifically if you find yourself in the 800 block of Somonauk Street in Sycamore, undoubtedly viewing the Chauncey Ellwood House and Esther Mae Nesbitt House, you could walk south. Walk until you hit the 400 block. At 420 Somonauk is the stately David Syme House. It’s a Queen Anne style home that is part of a group known as “painted ladies” (wiki-not the greatest but good enough).
The David Syme House was designed by architect George O. Garnsey, who designed several other prominent local structures, as well as buildings in other Illinois communities (more on both topics in other articles by me). Garnsey was a Chicago-based architect who helped design many buildings after the Great Chicago Fire and what is theh current Illinois State Capitol.
The Syme house has two prominent circular turrets, common on Queen Anne style houses. The Syme House also has a hipped roof (wiki) with cross gables (wiki), a feature found on about 50 percent of Queen Anne style homes.
David Syme came to Sycamore in 1868 and the home at 420 Somonauk cost him about $8,000 around 1880. Syme served as a local bank president as well as mayor and president of the Sycamore School Board.
Sycamore, Illinois is a city of approximately 15,000 residents, located in DeKalb County, of which it is the county seat. Sycamore was settled in 1835, primarily north of the Kishwaukee River.
Sycamore is well worth the visit for any architecture student, history buff or photo-journalist. The National Register of Historic Places is an excellent combination of the two feilds well worth the look for connisuers of either specialty.