Sunday, July 24, 2011


DeKalb, Illinois - home of the World's First Barbed Wire Factory (1874) and birthplace of the world famous supermodel Cindy Crawford. It is sort of fitting to the expression, "The rose between two thorns".

The mural looks like a painting of a party at the Ellwood House, built in 1879 by the barbed wire baron Isaac L. Ellwood. The Victorian mansion has a three-story spiral staircase and overwhelming chandeliers to match the mahogany-paneled vast dining room.

Whether because we were so hungry that we considered it was one of the best breakfasts on this trip at the Lincoln Inn (opened in the 1950s). The Inn is famous for its freshly baked bread, six different kinds, white, cracked wheat, pumpernickel, rye sourdough, Texas and English muffin. The servers were so friendly, especially Eileen who talked to us as if we were sitting at her kitchen table and not at a restaurant.

Back in late 1800s, DeKalb, Illinois was known as "The Barbed Wire Capital of the World". In 1874, Joseph Glidden (the gentleman in center) patented his improved barbed wire and made a fortune thanks to the high demand from every ranchers outwest needing the barbed wire to keep their cattles confined as well as marking their property lines, ended the era of the open range and the castle drive.

It was interesting that even though Cindy Crawford (the world famous supermodel) graduated from DeKalb High School (she was a valedictorian - beauty and brain - wow!), there was no mention anywhere about the famous hometown girl.

With the extra money from selling more than 50 million lbs of barbed wire every year, Isaac Ellwood built the Little House, a charming Victorian-era playhouse for his little daughter. The House has a bedroom with a child size bed, a tea room and a playroom that includes a doll house.

After breakfast at the Lincoln Inn, we had about 45 minutes before Mass at St. Mary. There was an art and craft show on the ground of the Ellwood House. We walked around admiring the many fine creations by local artists.

I should have posted the image of the mural immediately before or after the above photo so the readers would see that it was the Ellwood House in the painting. I am not sure if I would want to live in such a big house. Would you like to live in a mansion with servants attend to your every little requests?

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