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David Syme House: Sycamore, Illinois Part 3 January 27, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Architecture, Houses, National Register of Historic Places.

If you find yourself in Sycamore, Illinois 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).

Circa 1880 David Syme House

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 the future). Garnsey was a Chicago-based architect who helped design many buildings after the Great Chicago Fire and the 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.

One of the prominent towers on the Syme House.

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.

Online Resources
*Wikipedia: David Syme House (by me)
*Wikipedia: George O. Garnsey (by me)
*David Syme House: 1970s photos: 1, 2

Tomorrow we visit a few more of Sycamore’s homes before we temporarily journey elsewhere.


1. yinn - January 29, 2008

I paid $10 to walk through a half-dozen historic homes in Sycamore during Pumpkin Fest one year. It was so worth it. This was one of the homes. Talk about nooks & crannies & special features in every room.

2. dr. gonzo - January 29, 2008

The house is so beautiful, my girlfriend hates it though, she thinks it looks like a birthday cake. Haha. $10! That’s all! How nice. Do they ever do that anymore? I will have to keep my eyes peeled. In the meantime, I plan to fork over the 80 bucks to go on the Frank Lloyd Wright Housewalk in Oak Park this year.

3. yinn - January 30, 2008

I don’t know whether they do the PF House Walk anymore. Hope so. The kid is just about old enough to get something out of it.

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