Preserving the Past: The Intricate Beauty of Historic Homes in Small Towns

This past Saturday hubby and I ventured over to the charming town of Sycamore for a fall stroll through the historic district. Neighbors were out raking leaves or walking their dogs. The temperature was in the high fifties with little wind so it was a perfect day for some outdoor exercise. Of course, I had to capture the historic homes with my camera and share them all with you.

Some of the homes are grand, some are modest. This pale green farmhouse is the first one I photographed. It’s well kept and I imagine the interior is just as lovely. I captured a close-up of the porch, too.

light green historic farmhouse


light green farmhouse porch


Sycamore has an eclectic mix of historic homes. Some are grand with turrets and gingerbread, while others are smaller, cozy, and charming. Most are either brick or have clapboard siding. I can’t even begin to guess what it would cost to paint an intricate house like this one.

golden Victorian home in Sycamore, IL - historic homes


And color? You’ll find plenty of colorful homes walking the streets of Sycamore. It’s so refreshing, in my opinion, to see homeowners choose rich colors for their exteriors. The majority of new construction homes in our area are either white, gray, or taupe. I love the big, deep porch on this dark red home with cream trim and blue floor and steps.

red historic house in small town


Across the street from the red house is perhaps the prettiest block in town, although I haven’t walked all the streets so there might be another street that’s a strong contender. See that brick pillar in the lower left corner of the photo? You’ll see them in front of a few of the homes in town. They feature the name of the original owner and what they did for a living.

Historic Somonauk Street in Sycamore, IL


The plaque also includes the year the house was built. This marker belongs to an impressive Victorian on this pretty stretch of block on Somonauk Street.

markers for historic homes in Sycamore


This is the George P. Wild house. Take a moment to study all the trim work on this amazing home. From the roofline to the windows and down to the porch. I love the way this home is painted with the hints of red to accentuate the smaller details.

large brown Victorian home in a small town


We’re coming up to my favorite house on Somonauk Street. The choice might surprise you.

historic Somonauk Street in Sycamore, IL


This orange beauty caught my eye and captured my heart the most of all the historic homes on the walk around town. The color is so unexpected and bold, but it’s more than just that. It’s the angles and symmetry of the architecture that I find pleasing. I know this color isn’t for everyone, but I have to applaud the homeowner for their brave choice.

Orange historic home exterior in Illinois


Even the basement windows seen in the foundation are painted to match the rest of the windows. You can see the home is quite expansive.

Orange historic home exterior in Illinois


And next door to the orange charmer is a pink Victorian home. You’ll notice it needs a new paint job. I hope the owner keeps it pink.

orange and pink houses in historic neighborhood


The mustard house on the other side of Somonauk Street is another one of my favorites. I tend to lean toward homes with clapboard siding as opposed to brick, and if they include a large wraparound porch, all the better!

mustard colored farmhouse with wraparound porch


Wedged in between some of the larger historic homes is a charming brick cottage that I could easily call home. The size is perfect for simple living. I wouldn’t want the responsibility of a huge house anyway. I’d have to have a butler or something.

little brick cottage in a small Midwestern town


I’m going to end today’s tour of historic homes in Sycamore with this unique Victorian painted lady and her spiderweb gate. Hubby and I argued over who would get the third floor room in the turret.

Extremely large Victorian home with iron gate


Today’s tour is the first part of my photographic journal of the historic streets of Sycamore. I’ve got more to share later this week that I think you’ll enjoy!


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  1. Always love seeing your photographs of these beautiful homes on your walks through all the historic towns you find. Look forward to the next visit.

  2. I love when you go on your strolls through charming towns. As a former Illinois gal, it’s always a trip down memory lane for me. And I agree, the orange house is a stunner!

  3. Thank you for sharing these beautiful homes. I too love that orange house. But that spiderweb gate, is something that would make me so happy.

  4. I enjoy it so much when you stroll through a nearby town. If you’re ever in the Philadelphia area, there are sooo many lovely towns. My favorite is Swarthmore, so pretty and with a perfect college campus.

  5. They are all such beauties and well-kept and loved. I always enjoy these tours and could look all day, who cares about housework lol!!!

  6. Lovely! I live in a historic district in Southern California, Old Towne Orange. We are the largest historic district west of the Mississippi.
    But-it is a daily battle to protect and preserve these homes. HGTV has bee an unfortunate influence ( more Joanna Gaines black /white influence of late-ugh) and the younger generation buying has piece by piece hurt these homes. The appreciation of historic properties is lost by many and trends have dominated. Why buy in a historic district if you want to add on, blow out walls and paint unpainted 100 + perfect unpainted wood all white? We spent 3 years stripping white paint from our craftsman home…hopefully the trend will turn around.

  7. So fun and interesting. I’m looking forward to the next post! Some architect certainly had fun with that last Victorian. The detail is incredible. I’m still trying to figure out what is hanging down below the turret on the right. It is reminiscent of a hot air balloon.

  8. Wow!!! What stunning homes. It’s hard to choose a favorite. I love the color of the orange one. The Victorian Painted Lady is absolutely gorgeous. And that front gate. How cool is that? I’ve never seen a spider web gate before. Truly clever! The Pink house is really pretty too. I REALLY enjoyed this post Jennifer.

  9. I wish I could join you on your walks! I have never liked orange. But I love the orange house! It’s bright and cheerful without being jarring