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Sycamore Film Festival
sycamoreAbout Sycamore

Sycamore - the end of the rainbow!

Sycamore's history is rich with men and women who found their "pot of gold" when they found our historic, quaint, little town nestled in the fertile, black, Midwest soil - the richest land in the country. In the 1850s, Sycamore was part of the great Underground Railroad system and many African - Americans fleeing slavery in the South found their rainbow took them right through this haven to their freedom.

Sycamore boasts many firsts for women. We had the first female doctor in the country to build her own hospital. Letitia Westgate's building still stands to this day. Helena Dolder, Sycamore's Sheriff in 1928, was the first female sheriff in the State. She hung curtains in the windows and therefore the Sycamore jail garnered the name the "Petticoat Jail". We also boast one of the few female mapmakers in World War II. Esther Mae Nesbitt was an artist born and raised in Sycamore and almost any map you look at in the Army archives made on the European front bears Esther's name. She also led a charge on the beaches on D-day - the group was all women and women weren't supposed to leave the ships but they forgot to tell Esther that! All 47 of the women survived.

Sycamore is the DeKalb County seat and has one of the most beautiful, historic Courthouses in the State. Sycamore's businesses have been inventive and diverse since it's inception and have included the Marsh Harvester Manufacturing Company, Reuben Ellwood Manufacturing Company, Ideal Industries, Dekalb Ag, a national leader in agricultural development since the turn of the century, and Turner Brass Company, which manufactured the Olympic torch for the summer Olympics!

Sycamore even housed a German prisoner of war camp! They used to march the prisoners down the main street to the local diner. They thought they were giving them a treat by feeding them our famous sweet corn but apparently they didn't grow sweet corn in Europe and corn was only fed to the livestock. So the Germans were offended! If only they'd taken a bite of Sycamore's sweet corn!

Today, Sycamore hosts the famous, unique Pumpkin Festival over the last weekend in October. Sycamore houses the Midwest Museum of Natural History, which encourages an appreciation of the world's diverse natural environment and human culture through exhibits and interactive learning experiences. The Sycamore Historic district includes 99 acres and two centuries of Victorian homes and historic buildings. We have parks, bike paths, forest preserves and our downtown's main street will make you feel like you're in George Bailey's hometown of Bedford Park in "It's a Wonderful Life". We can't wait to see you in September for the Sycamore Film Festival!