Once called "Barb City," the pleasant college town Dekalb, IL was the home of Joseph F. Glidden, a lumber salesman who came up with our modern version of barbed wire in 1874.
If you miss the college life, or never experienced it, you don’t need to live in a dorm with a snoring roommate to experience the best of it. Instead, come to DeKalb, where Northern Illinois University is such an integral part of the town that you’ll get the best of the college experience without that raging kegger taking place down the hall. Chartered in 1895, the gracious NIU campus hosts an outstanding research university, replete with concerts, sporting events, and film nights that the entire town gets behind. A world class university that draws students globally, the Huskies are known for their environmental studies program, engineering, nursing, and music programs, as well as for its themed learning communities that allow like minded students to study together.
Northern Illinois State Normal was founded in 1895, creating a formal attachment to education for the community. This campus grew into Northern Illinois University.
DeKalb defines itself as being all inconclusive of NIU, and students blend seamlessly into community life. Likewise, the residents of DeKalb are able to enjoy the cultural resources and community learning opportunities that the university provides, supporting the college’s football and basketball teams by wearing its colors, cardinal and black, on game days. If youre moving here, adjust your wardrobe accordingly. Also, be prepared to partake of college cultural offerings. With over half of the city's population coming from NIU, you better bet that university pride is a big deal here.
Dekalbs outer edges are expanding with new residential communities and businesses. Chain stores, business warehouses, health care and environmental employers are springing up all over the place. The inner core of the city is wrapped around the university, with dining, shopping, and businesses contained in a walkable center.
DeKalb is easily reached from Chicago and Rockford off the I-88. Yes, it has its own toll plaza. While most residents drive when commuting, the city itself is walkable, and many residents also bike through town. The public transportation system is among the most utilized in the state, and it takes passengers from the university to the town center and outlying areas. Along eclectic Lincoln Highway, youll find unique mom and pop cafes and retail stores with handcrafted items. National retail chains for shopping and dining circle the outlying areas of this busy community.
Corn on DeKalb
From the DeKalb Farmers Market to a large scale Oktoberfestcelebration, DeKalb offers a diverse city with community enhancing activities all year long. The hugely popular Corn Fest draws crowds of over a hundred thousand to the city for the yearly even focused on food, family entertainment, and free music since the late 1970's. The event started a lot earlier than that and a lot smaller - as a corn boil, sponsored by Del Monte back in 1957, as a ploy to give away corn as harvest time began.
The current festival includes a full sound stage drawing acts like Phil Vassar, Jefferson Starship, Lady Antebellum, Travis Tritt, and Leon Russell, among others. Country, rock, and jazz are all well represented during this fest. Midway carnival rides, a beer garden, and food booths with a focus on corn products are all a part of this massive tradition. Kiddie rides for the family? Check. Locally brewed ales to taste? Check. Actual corn on the cob? Of course!
A River Runs Through It
Kishwaukee River runs through town, bringing with it hiking trails, fishing opportunities, and migrating birds. There are over forty parks and recreation facilities in DeKalb, some centered along the river and the nature trail which is currently being upgraded and enhanced, to allow that many more ways to enjoy seasonal spring flowers and colorful autumn leaves. Large and gracious Hopkins Park also hosts Hopkins Pool, a community facility that’s open seasonally. Two golf courses, River Heights and Buena Vista, offer more recreational pleasure.
Ellwood House Museum and Park, is the ancestral abode of barbed wire creator, Isaac Ellwood; and while the history and artifacts are fascinating, so too are the wine-on-the-terrace nights held at the site, along with other community gatherings and musical events.
No matter where you begin your apartment searchin DeKalb, you'll be part of a vibrant community with both a cool college atmosphere and homespun, mid-western values.
City Center: Urban, middle-income, and reasonably priced sums up this walkable neighborhood, perfect for finding an apartment for rent, both in apartment homes and apartment complexes. Along with high rise apartment structures, you’ll find 3 bedroom houses for rent in Dekalb’s city center. Owners and renters co-mingle in properties built mostly between 1940 and 1970. You’ll find a mix of professional occupations, manufacturing, and clerical workers residing here. A community with a strong German heritage, downtown DeKalb residents drive under fifteen minutes to work - or walk.
Elva: This suburban, tree lined neighborhood consists of mainly single family homes and newer apartment rentals built after 1970. Rental vacancies are tight, despite the fact that alarge percentage of residents here attend NIU. Summer months would be a good time to look for vacancies in this walkable community with a nice mix of college students and a delicious speciality: Danish bakeries.
Northern Illinois U / Twombly Road: The population is denser here, with many 2 bedroom apartments and town homes, which are primarily renter occupied. Over 63% of this neighborhoods dwellers attend college, and because of the strong student presence, this area is considered lower income than other parts of town.
Sycamore Rd / Barber Greene Road: A suburban feel dominates this neighborhood of single family homes and town homes. Renters and owners both reside here in a community with many residents employed in management positions.