DeKalb, Illinois: Wikis


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City of DeKalb, Illinois
Nickname(s): Barb City
City of DeKalb, Illinois is located in Illinois
City of DeKalb, Illinois
Location within the state of Illinois
Coordinates: 41°55′53″N 88°45′1″W / 41.93139°N 88.75028°W / 41.93139; -88.75028
Country United States
State Illinois
County DeKalb
Incorporated 1856
 - Mayor Kris Povlsen
 - Total 12.6 sq mi (32.7 km2)
Population (2000)
 - Total 39,018
 - Density 3,093.9/sq mi (1,194.7/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)

DeKalb is a city in DeKalb County, Illinois, United States. The population was 39,018 at the 2000 census. The city's name (as well as the name of DeKalb County, where it is located) is /dɨˈkælb/ "di-KALB". The city is named after decorated German war hero Johann De Kalb who died during the American Revolutionary War.



Two examples of Joseph Glidden's early barbed wire.
The 1857 George Gurler House In DeKalb is affiliated with dairy farmers in the Gurler family.

Founded in 1837, DeKalb remained a small community until the arrival of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad in 1853. DeKalb's central location brought easier shipping of crops and access to larger markets. Agriculture was the primary economic activity until 1873-4 when farmer Joseph Glidden developed barbed wire and began commercial mass production of his new invention. Glidden sold half of his interest to hardware merchant Isaac L. Ellwood and together the two formed the Barb Fence Company.

Two months after Glidden filed his application for a patent, lumber salesman Jacob Haish also applied for a patent and on June 25, 1874 ran interference papers against Glidden's patent. After several years of legal wrangling, in 1877 Glidden's patent won and Glidden was declared the "Father of Barbed Wire".

In 1865 H. B. Gurler moved to DeKalb, and later attempted to create high-grade milk. Gurler began shipping his "Pure Milk" to Chicago in 1895.

The founding of Northern Illinois State Normal School in 1895 added education to DeKalb's landscape. It later became Northern Illinois University which is known for its business, nursing, education, engineering, and music programs.

Agriculture again came to the forefront with the creation of the DeKalb County Farm Bureau in 1912, one of the first organizations of its kind. In the 1930s the DeKalb AgResearch Corporation (today MONSANTO) marketed its first hybrid seed corn.


DeKalb is located at 41°55′53″N 88°45′1″W / 41.93139°N 88.75028°W / 41.93139; -88.75028 (41.931274, -88.750151).[1]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.6 square miles (32.7 km²), of which, 12.6 square miles (32.7 km²) of it is land and 0.08% is water.

On August 24, 2007, the Kishwaukee River at DeKalb, Illinois crested at 15.27 feet (all time record 15.8 feet) causing major flooding. This was only the second time the river rose above 15 feet since the level of the river has been recorded.[2]


DeKalb is governed by a Council-Manager government. Policy is developed by an elected City Council then implemented by an appointed professional City Manager. DeKalb's City Council is made up of a Mayor elected at-large and seven alderpersons elected by ward. Each serves a four year term, with half the council being elected every two years. A City Clerk is also elected every four years who serves as the official record keeper of the city. City council meetings are held the second and fourth Monday's of every month.


DeKalb is home to Northern Illinois University, which is the city's largest employer. Other large employers include Kishwaukee Health System, the local school district, a Wal-mart Super Center and a Super Target.

Park facilities

DeKalb has over 44 community facilities. Some of the main parks, golf courses and museum include:

  • River Heights Golf Course
  • Buena Vista Golf Course
  • Hopkins Park Pool and Community Center
  • DeKalb County Forest Preserves
  • Ellwood House Museum and Park

Health systems

  • Kishwaukee Hospital


A home in the neighborhood north of downtown DeKalb, near the Gurler House.

As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 39,018 people, 13,081 households, and 6,566 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,093.9 people per square mile (1,194.7/km²). There were 13,619 housing units at an average density of 1,079.9/sq mi (417.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 73.00% White, 9.08% African American, 0.24% Native American, 4.62% Asian, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 4.35% from other races, and 2.09% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.04% of the population.

There were 13,081 households out of which 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.0% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 49.8% were non-families. 29.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the city the population was spread out with 16.9% under the age of 18, 39.2% from 18 to 24, 23.8% from 25 to 44, 12.0% from 45 to 64, and 8.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 23 years. For every 100 females there were 97.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,153, and the median income for a family was $53,017. Males had a median income of $36,255 versus $26,422 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,261. About 9.0% of families and 21.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.2% of those under age 18 and 5.4% of those age 65 or over.


There are 7 public schools, 3 private schools, 1 university, and 2 libraries in DeKalb [1]


Northern Illinois University

Altgeld Hall, the first building to be constructed at NIU.

Northern Illinois University (NIU) was founded in DeKalb as the Northern Illinois State Normal School in 1895. NIU is a comprehensive teaching and research institution with a student enrollment of around 25,000, which makes NIU the second largest university in Illinois.[4][5] Some famous NIU alumni include Dan Castellaneta (the voice of Homer Simpson), Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Oscar-nominated actress Joan Allen, Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner, and Steve Harris from David E. Kelley's legal Drama The Practice. On February 14, 2008, a former graduate went on a rampage known as the Northern Illinois University shooting.

Public schools

DeKalb is served by both public and private school systems. DeKalb Community Unit School District 428 operates seven Elementary Schools (Grades K-5), Clinton Rosette and Huntley Middle Schools (Grades 6-8), and DeKalb High School (Grades 9-12). DeKalb is also home to St. Mary School (Grades K-8) and is served by Cornerstone Christian Academy in nearby Sycamore.


DeKalb forms the western anchor of the I-88 corridor. It holds an important spot on the tollway as the location of both a toll plaza and an oasis which includes restaurants and a gas station. It is 30 miles away from Aurora and 65 miles from downtown Chicago and O'Hare International Airport. Voluntary Action Center provides two types of transportation services, TRANS-VAC and MED-VAC. TRANS-VAC provides transportation to activities and businesses in DeKalb County and has two bus routes (the green line and blue line) that runs a regular hourly route Monday through Friday and some limited evening hours for special needs persons. MED-VAC provides transportation to out-of-town medical appointments when the client registers in advance for the ride. NIU Huskie Bus Line Serves NIU and the DeKalb area. It has the second highest rider-per-mile bus system in Illinois (behind the CTA). It is said to be the largest student-run bus system in the US (although it is operated by Veolia Transportation, it is operated locally).


DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport (DTMA) or (KDKB), serving the general aviation community, is located at 3232 Pleasant Street, DeKalb, Illinois.

Sister cities

DeKalb is partnered with Tamworth, Australia.

Notable DeKalbers

Emmy winning actress Barbara Hale was born in DeKalb.

Supermodel Cindy Crawford was born in DeKalb and graduated as a valedictorian from DeKalb High School in 1984.

Actor Richard Jenkins was born and raised in DeKalb.

L.A. Rams linebacker Mel Owens graduated from DeKalb High School in 1976.

Author Richard Powers graduated from DeKalb High School in 1975.

Porn Star T.J. Hart (real name Amy Damkroger) was born and raised in Dekalb and graduated from Dekalb High School.[6]

Secretary of Labor W. Willard Wirtz was born in DeKalb. His home is preserved on the NIU campus.

Hardcore punk band Charles Bronson & Sick/Tired hail from DeKalb.

See also


External links


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